Against Sporting Kansas City, LA Galaxy proved all that is excited and frustrating with MLS football. As chance after chance came flying in during the end-to-end contest, it was exhilarating for supporters to watch and likely infuriating for the coaches.
Simple mistakes and lacklustre defending created opportunities out of nothing. Sporting Kansas City almost took the lead early into the contest with a complete pot shot from distance which clattered against the post.
It was the sort of opportunity that summed up much of what was to come; a game perhaps lacking quality but in which both sides would try their luck at anything.
The score was eventually opened by the visitors, against the run of play and after a series of missed opportunities by the Galaxy, when Felipe Gutierrez showed good composure in the box to sell the home visitors short and slot home.
However, their lead wasn’t long lived when eight minutes later the Galaxy earned a penalty courtesy of a handball in the box. Up stepped Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who’s initial poor penalty was at an easy high for Tim Melia to save. However, the ball bounced straight back into the path of the Swedish star to casually slot home.
That proved to be the half-time score; 1-1. It provided few clues for the back-and-forth, chaotic second half that was set to ensue after the interval.
Taking advantage of some shocking defending, Joe Corona ghosted into some space to head home a soft but well-directed header just three minutes after the interval.
It was three for the Galaxy shortly after when Ibrahimovic added his second of the game. Uriel Antuna got his name on the score sheet when he slid in to clip Cristian Pavon’s shot back the other way and in off the post.
Sporting Kansas City kept at their opponents, but at least on the scoreboard they were sinking without a trace.
Sebastian Lletget made matters worse with just under 15 minutes left to go when he grabbed a quick fire brace. A good header was for his first was soon followed by a second to finish off a swift LA Galaxy counterattack which was woefully defended by the visitors.
Ibrahimovic was on hand to convert his third hat-trick in the MLS since joining from Manchester United when he made it 7-1 in the 85th minute, before Sporting Kansas restored the slightest of esteem with a late consolation a minute later through Gutierrez, by far their finest player on a night to forget.
Sporting Kansas won’t want to see the scoreline or the highlights back of the match, but in truth the 7-2 final result likely flattered the Galaxy. Their opponents weren’t that poor on the night, but instead were caught out repeatedly by a number of poor defensive lapses.