Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s next target is Sporting Kansas City. (Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
Zlatan Ibrahimović certainly has one tough act to follow — himself.
Just how does the Swedish superstar top his scintillating debut for the LA Galaxy in his next game?
He just about single-footedly willed the Galaxy to a stunning 4-3 comeback triumph over the LA Football Club at the StubHub Center, striking twice during his 19-minute stint off the bench, including the game-winner in stoppage time.
Next Sunday, Zlatan and company will get that opportunity to do exactly that as the Galaxy hosts Sporting Kansas City at the StubHub Center at 9 p.m.
Like it or not, there will be some great expectations for the former Manchester United standout, given the 37-year-old’s bombastic introduction to Major League Soccer.
Just wonder if he will help pull in crowds like another former Galaxy star did (David Beckham) when LA hits the road as it will at the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. Saturday, April 14.
And before we forget, sorry metropolitan-area soccer fans, outside of the Galaxy reaching the MLS Cup against either New York City FC or the Red Bulls, Zlatan won’t be making an appearance on the pitch in the area this year.
LA visited NYCFC March 11, which was a 2-1 loss for the visitors at Yankee Stadium. And since the Western Conference team played in New York already, that meant the Galaxy will host the other NY side, the Red Bulls, at the StubHub Center April 28.
So, area fans won’t be able to see the Lion in person until 2019, when the Red Bulls are scheduled to welcome his southern California side.
Unless, of course, that aforementioned MLS Cup scenario occurs in December.
What a way to start
With Cosmos B accepting an invitation from the U.S. Soccer Federation to participate in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup May 5 or 6, the National Premier Soccer League team will find itself in a unique situation.
It’s first competitive match under new head coach Carlos Mendes will be in the Open Cup play-in match. That’s right.
To make room for it, the league would have to move the Cosmos B’s May 5 NPSL season-opener at Boston City FC to another day. Cosmos B’s opponent and venue will be announced later this week.
Cosmos B is scheduled to host the Brooklyn Italians in its home-opener at Hofstra Soccer Stadium May 15 at 8 p.m.
A Solomon-esque decision
And speaking of Cosmos B in the Open Cup, the Open Cup committee made a Solomon-esque decision to allow that team and Jacksonville Armada SC and Miami FC 2 sides to compete in the tournament.
“The committee carefully considered the teams’ exceptional situation which involved all three moving from Professional Division II status in 2017 to solely Open Division league participation earlier this year,” an Open Cup committee statement said Friday. “Since the move occurred after the Open Division league’s 2018 Open Cup entry deadline in mid-2017, the Committee decided to allow the three teams the opportunity to compete in the 2018 edition of the U.S. Open Cup.”