After a 60-minute performance that saw RSL as a significantly better side than their opponents, LA Galaxy, RSL fell victim to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the aging European star who scored the first two goals in a 3-0 LA win.
RSL created several chances in the first half, with Corey Baird proving a dangerous figure. But for a misplaced touch and some good central defending, RSL would have found themselves with one or two goals.
LA’s best first-half opportunity came when Zlatan Ibrahimovic played in Perry Kitchen inside the box, but Nick Rimando came good against the midfielder from close range.
RSL had a strong shout for a red card early in the second half, when Corey Baird was taken down by Jorgen Skjelvik, who was the last defender about 35 yards from goal.
Justen Glad, in the ultimate act of heroism, denied Zlatan Ibrahimovic from not just close range, but the closest range, with an inch-perfect tackle to send the ball out of harm’s way. It was a game-defining moment that only minutes later would be sadly erased by an unfortunate error.
On the next play, Ola Kamara found himself one-on-one with Rimando after a perfectly timed run, but as you’ve likely to come to expect, Rimando came out the victor in the challenge, knocking away the ball before RSL could fall behind.
RSL ended up falling behind to a Zlatan goal all the same in the 62nd minute after Nick Rimando made a rare error, whiffing on a punch to send the ball right to the superstar’s head.
The same man doubled the lead five minutes later, again with his head and lacking the same spectacular qualities his goals sometimes have, but he celebrated them with the same detachment. The second came without an obvious error from RSL.
Having gone to a three-man back line, RSL found themselves vulnerable to a surging LA counter again, dropping a third goal to Ola Kamara following a surprisingly weak defensive effort. Down 3-0, RSL had little chance of recovery, and Petke had few, if any attacking options to go to on his bench.
Albert Rusnak returned to the lineup following an international absence with Slovakia, and Kyle Beckerman found himself on the bench with what the pregame broadcast described as a slight groin injury.
62’ LAG 1-0 RSL, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
67’ LAG 2-0 RSL, Zlatan Ibrahimovic
53’ LA, Jorgen Skjelvik
64’ RSL, Brooks Lennon
69’ LA, Ola Kamara
79’ RSL, M. Silva
Rimando; Lennon (72’ L. Silva), M. Silva, Glad, Acosta; Sunny, Kreilach; Savarino, Rusnak, Saucedo; Baird (78’ Ruiz)
Bench: Sparrow, Peay, Herrera, Besler, Ruiz, Beckerman, L. Silva
Bingham; Romney, Ciani, Skjelvik, Cole; Kitchen, Carrasco; Lletget; Pontius, Ibrahimovic, Kamara
Bench: Vom Steeg, Steres, Lassiter, Hilliard-Arce, Boateng, Jamieson IV, Joao Pedro