MLS – Big 5: Special All ZLATAN! Edition
MLS – Big 5: Special All ZLATAN! Edition avatar

Major League Soccer ran a full schedule of games this weekend beginning on Friday night with the defending champions Toronto winning its first league match of the season. Vancouver handed Columbus its first loss of the campaign, 10 man Atlanta won in frigid Minnesota, NYCFC won to go top of the East despite the late withdrawal of David Villa.

So, lots of good games and exciting moments but all pales in the wake of ZLATAN! And so, in a first for GotSoccer’s MLS Big – 5, this week’s edition is all devoted to one man, one lion, the one called ZLATAN!

1) Making Bragging Fun Again

“It Ain’t Braggin’ if you Can Do It.” Dizzy Dean, baseball Hall of Famer. “I am the Greatest.” Muhammed Ali. Reggie Jackson upon joining the New York Yankees in 1977. “I didn’t come to New York to be a star, I brought my star with me.”

“They chanted ‘We want Zlatan.’ So I gave them Zlatan,” ZLATAN! to Fox following his MLS debut.

On Saturday the man who announced his decision to leave Manchester United and join the Los Angeles Galaxy with an image of himself as Jesus arm wrestling the Devil and a full-page ad in the L.A. Times that said simply, “Dear Los Angeles, You’re welcome” joined the pantheon of legendary U.S. Sports Braggarts when he scored two goals in his MLS debut to defeat LAFC in the first meeting between the neighboring teams.

2) The Man Knows How to Make an Entrance

ZLATAN! does not wait around, he does not settle in, he simply gets right down to it. Known for scoring on his debut at previous stops in his illustrious career, Saturday’s effort is part of a pattern that includes goals in his first game in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Ligue 1 and the Champions League.

So we shouldn’t really have been surprised that ZLATAN! suited up just nine days after signing with the Galaxy or that he scored just six minutes after entering the match on Saturday.

3) Audacious

It wouldn’t do for ZLATAN! to debut with a tap-in. No, the man who calls himself The Lion had to do something special for his introduction to Tinseltown, like maybe an almost 40-yard blast that leaves the keeper scrambling and clawing at the air helpless to keep the mighty strike from ZLATAN! out of his net?!

4) The Equalizer and then the Winner!

With ZLATAN! sitting on the bench the Galaxy trailed newcomers LAFC 3-0 and then 3-1 when Sebastian Lletget gave the Galaxy a glimmer of hope in the 61st minute. Chris Pontius made it 3-2 two minutes after ZLATAN! entered the fray.

Then ZLATAN! took over, scoring that stunning equalizer before rising majestically above the LAFC defense to power home the winning header in stoppage time, sending the StubHub crowd into a frenzy and damn near breaking American soccer twitter into the bargain.

5) Game Winner Looked Offside but…

As the hysteria surrounding ZLATAN’S! match winner subsided dissenting voice began to appear on Twitter noting that ZLATAN! looked to have been offside on the goal. Replays were produced which seemed to offer confirmation.

Then a different video emerged that seemed to show that the goal was good. Of course, it was. This was, after all, ZLATAN!

About Peter Nolan

Peter Nolan is a staff writer for the GotSoccer Magazine, covering MLS and other US leagues, He's GotSoccer's chief National Team Correspondent.
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