Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned from injury in style Sunday, converting two penalties in the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 2-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Portland Timbers.
Exactly one year after the Swedish striker made his MLS debut for Los Angeles, he returned after missing two games with an Achilles tendon injury and made an immediate impact.
Denied by the post in the 14th minute, Ibrahimovic converted his first penalty in the 33rd, easily beating Timbers goalkeeper Jeff Attinella after drawing a foul in the penalty area against Timbers defender Claude Dielna.
Jeremy Ebobisse grabbed an equalizer in the 44th, but Ibrahimovic struck again in the second half.
Having beaten three defenders to reach the edge of the box, he was fouled by Attinella.
This time from the spot he lofted a perfectly timed “Panenka” spot-kick into the back of the net as Attinella moved to his left.
In the Eastern Conference, Wayne Rooney scored on a sensational free-kick to lift D.C. United to a 2-1 victory at Orlando City that put D.C. back atop the conference standings.
A free kick from the former England star had set up D.C.’s opening goal, which was nodded in by Steve Birnbaum for his first of the season in the sixth minute.
Rooney doubled the score in the 30th, curling a free kick from just yards (meters) away from the corner flag into the top corner past Orlando keeper Brian Rowe.
Orlando coach James O’Connor called for officials to review the goal for a potential foul on Rowe by D.C. defender Frederic Brillant, but VAR confirmed the goal.
Orlando were already irked that the free kick was awarded at all since it was unclear if Dom Dwyer’s lunge at Rooney resulted in contact.
Orlando halved the deficit thanks to Dwyer’s 63rd-minute close-range header, but D.C. held them off to notch a first away win since May 19, 2018 — a streak that included 11 games and stretched back to before Rooney arrived at mid-season last year.
Dwyer’s goal was the first conceded by D.C. this season and energized the hosts, who pushed forward relentlessly in the final 30 minutes but couldn’t find an equalizer.