TFC’s Vanney: Ibrahimovic ‘attention’ could be good for MLS


Los Angeles Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic, middle, and teammates celebrate. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s stunning performance for the LA Galaxy over the weekend set plenty of tongues wagging around Major League Soccer, including at Toronto FC.

Ibrahimovic’s MLS debut for the LA Galaxy on Saturday was pure Hollywood screenplay material. He entered the game as a substitute in the 71st minute with his team trailing visitors Los Angeles FC 3-1 in the first ever derby between the city rivals.

Six minutes after stepping onto the pitch, Ibrahimovic scored a stupendous, long-range effort to tie the game.

Then in extra time, the Swede headed home the winning goal to guide the Galaxy to a miraculous come-from-behind 4-3 victory after it trailed LAFC 3-0 early in the second half. In doing so, the Galaxy became just the second team in MLS history to win a game after falling three goals behind. LAFC is coached by Bob Bradley, father of TFC captain Michael Bradley.

Ibrahimovic’s exploits didn’t go unnoticed by TFC coach Greg Vanney, a defender of some repute for the Galaxy during his playing career.

“I thought it made for a great story. Him coming in and having an impact, there are players who just have an incredible knack for being able to step up in the moment and make some interesting plays,” Vanney said.

Vanney felt LA Galaxy forward Ola Kamara committed a foul in the buildup to Ibrahimovic’s first goal, and that the Swede looked to be offside on the winner.

Still, there’s no denying the drama and buzz that Ibrahimovic’s goal-scoring heroics created, and the global attention it has brought MLS.

“It made for an incredible story line, and something that has been seen around the world, and it’s just another moment in the league’s short history that created some attention, and clearly got people talking, which is never the worst thing,” Vanney offered.

Toronto FC will host the LA Galaxy on Sept. 15 at BMO Field in the only meeting of the 2018 regular season between the two clubs.

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