For the first time in three matches, the LA Galaxy got back on track with a resounding 2-0 win over FC Dallas. Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted both goals for LA to bring his tally to 18 on the season.
This was a pivotal win for Guillermo Barros Schelotto and company. The Western Conference is tightly packed at the moment, with five points separating second and eighth. Had the Galaxy lost this match, they would have fallen all the way to seventh. But since all three points were won, LA jumps to third.
With a match on Saturday, GBS rotated his lineup heavily, especially in attack. Cristian Pavón made his home debut for LA, while Efrain Alvarez and Julian Araujo rounded out the attackers behind Ibrahimovic.
In midfield, Sebastian Lletget replaced Perry Kitchen, while Jorgen Sjkelvik returned to left-back with Diego Polenta moving to the center of the defense.
Pavon showcased his skills early in the match. He flipped the ball over the two Dallas defenders, quickly split them, and tried to continue the move. The ball bounced a little too match after the artful display and lost possession soon after.
“Very, very good,” Ibrahimovic said of the new signing. “He’s too good for MLS.
I think the MLS will not have him for long. We should enjoy him while he’s here.”
The crafty Argentinian again tried to test the Dallas defense with an effort from long range in the 24th minute. This time, though, his attempt did not test Jesse Gonzalez in goal.
“I wanted to come here since the beginning when the opportunity was brought up,” Pavon said afterward.
“With Guillermo we always have a respectful relationship. We both have a lot of affection and confidence toward each other. He asked me from the beginning and he believed in me.
“And I’ll be returning that to him little by little every day, doing my best and giving my all on the field.”
As the first half wound down, the Galaxy were getting their attempts away but lacked precision in the final third.
Skjelvik played a dangerous pass back through the middle of a crowded box two minutes before halftime. It somehow evaded the Dallas defenders and fell at Ibrahimovic’s feet. The Swedish striker was not prepared for the ball and it ricocheted out for a goal kick.
A minute later, the 37-year-old veteran did well to dance by Dallas defenders in the box to get a shot away, but it did not test Gonzalez.
Ibrahimovic scores both goals in second half
Los Angeles’ first goal finally came eight minutes after the hour mark.
It was a well worked moved that started with Favio Alvarez, who retreated deep to retain possession. He played the ball out wide to Skjelvik and continued to combine with Pavon near the edge of the box. The Norweigian then played a quick pass to Ibrahimovic, who passed the ball into the back of the net.
With 10 minutes remaining in the match, Pavon cut inside towards. Once he was in the area, a Dallas defender dragged him down, which won the home side a penalty.
Ibrahimovic stepped up to the spot and slotted is effort to double the Galaxy’s advantage for good.
Lletget said of Pavon, “You can see the quality he’s got. He’s a very creative player and can make things happen. He gets people going. He’s been great.”
Another pivotal match awaits the Galaxy at the Dignity Health Sports Park on Saturday. The Seattle Sounders travel down the coast for a 7:00 PM PST kickoff.