Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: Ibrahimovic uses star power to spark Galaxy win

With its close proximity to Hollywood, Los Angeles has always been a star magnet when it comes to the city’s sports teams. And the city’s latest star arrived with a huge splash March 31 when Los Angeles Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic debuted at StubHub Center.

And what a debut it was. Ibrahimovic didn’t start because he barely joined the team, but with the Galaxy trailing the upstart expansion Los Angeles Football Club, 3-1, he was inserted into the lineup in the 71st minute.

Two minutes later, Chris Pontius scored to close the gap to 3-2. Four minutes after that, Galaxy fans saw why Galaxy management signed Ibrahimovic. From 40 yards out on the left side, he sent a high, curling shot over LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Millerand into the net to even the match at 3-3.

But Ibrahimovic wasn’t through. In stoppage time, with the score still 3-3 Galaxy defender Ashley Cole sent a pass to the front of the goal. Ibrahimovic beat the goalkeeper and two other defenders to the ball and headed it into the back of the net to cap his debut and give the Galaxy a 4-3 win.

Two goals in 19 minutes of work. Not bad for a debut.

For his efforts, Ibrahimovic was chosen the Alcatel Major League Soccer Player of the Week by the North American soccer reporters.

The win gave the Galaxy a 2-1-1 record and, more importantly, a 1-0 record against LAFC, the team’s new rival. It was LAFC’s first loss after wins in the team’s first two games.

The Galaxy return to action at 6 p.m. April 8 at StubHub Center against Sporting Kansas City.

LAFC travels to Atlanta to play Atlanta United at 2 p.m. April 7.

TOO EARLY TO PANIC: I never understand the pessimism of some sports fan.

The Dodgers are six games into a 162-game schedule and already a lot of fans are starting to panic because the team is off to a 2-4 start. Relax.

The Dodgers were under .500 at the end of April last season when Cody Bellinger arrived from Oklahoma City to inject some life into the Dodgers lineup. The Dodgers went on to win 104 games, the most the team has ever won in a season in Los Angeles.

There may not be anyone in Oklahoma City like Bellinger this year, but third baseman Justin Turner will be back in the lineup around the start of May and that should provide the same boost for the Dodgers.

Turner broke his wrist during spring training after getting hit by a pitch and the Dodgers have struggled offensively without him. When the offense hits, the pitching woes will go away.