Los Angeles Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic (9) passes the ball as Vancouver Whitecaps’ Doneil Henry (2) defends during the first half of an MLS soccer game in Vancouver, on Friday April 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Galaxy’s Ibrahimovic shines as L.A. blanks Whitecaps 2-0

Vancouver slips to 0-4-1 on season

VANCOUVER — Striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic dominated play, scoring and adding an assist, to lift the L.A. Galaxy over the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-0 on Friday.

Defender Daniel Steres also scored for the Galaxy (4-1-0).

Goalie Maxime Crepeau stopped one shot for the Whitecaps (0-4-1) while his teammates blocked four others.

David Bingham had five saves for L.A., earning his first clean sheet of the year.

Vancouver has struggled to start the Major League Soccer season and is still looking for its first win.

The Whitecaps were able to contain Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy’s other stars throughout much of the first half, but struggled early in the second.

L.A. capitalized in the 63rd minute when Ibrahimovic sailed a ball to Steres in front of the Vancouver net.

The 28-year-old California native headed the ball in to open the scoring.

The Galaxy added another goal in the 71st minute after defender Rolf Feltscher sent a high ball into the box from the right corner.

Ibrahimovic knocked down the pass with his body, then fired it in past Crepeau.

Vancouver’s best chance of the night came early after winger Lass Bangoura was hauled down in the box by Jorgen Skjelvik in the first minute.

Ali Adnan lined up for the penalty kick and tried to beat the Galaxy ‘keeper with a low ball but Bingham gobbled up the attempt.

L.A. missed an open shot in the 46th minute after Crepeau made a diving stop but couldn’t corral the rebound.

The ball popped out to Ibrahimovic, who got off a right-footed shot from the centre of the box but sailed it to the left of the net.

The star striker seemed stunned to have missed the play, holding his head in his hands.

It wasn’t Ibrahimovic’s only opportunity of the night.

Minutes later, he took tapped a pass from Feltscher in behind Crepeau but the play was called offside.

Ibrahimovic also bobbled a free kick in Vancouver’s end near the end of the first half, shooting the ball just wide.

RELATED: Video replay costs Whitecaps in 0-0 draw with Sounders

Referee Baldomero Toldo handed out four yellow cards in the match, including two for plays against Vancouver’s Hwang Inbeom.

Jonathan dos Santos was called for tripping the South Korean midfielder as he streaked through the middle third in the 16th minute.

Romain Alessandrini was given a caution in the 45th minute after he took Hwang out with a hard tackle.

Vancouver’s Fredy Montero was given the warning in the 86th minute and his teammate Felipe Martins was also handed a yellow in the 90th, both for unsporting behaviour.

A fan wearing a Swedish Ibrahimovic jersey added some extra entertainment to the game in the 85th minute, running onto the turf and up to his apparent idol.

The Galaxy captain appeared to sign the man’s shirt before he was escorted off the field by security.

Next week, the Whitecaps will head to Chicago where they’ll play the fire on April 12.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

More Whitecaps coverage here

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