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Zlatan Punted Sporting Kansas City Into Orbit With Yet Another Hat Trick

Photo: Katharine Lotze (Getty Images)

At some point, Zlatan Ibrahimović will wear out his welcome in MLS, but that moment has thankfully not come just yet. Beyond all the shit-talking and dunking on MLS of the likes which we here at Deadspin can only aspire to, Zlatan’s still got it on the field, which must make his shtick easier to take. On Sunday, he was kind enough to issue a reminder of his still-prodigious talent, notching a hat trick against Sporting Kansas City in a match the LA Galaxy won by 7–2.

The first Zlatan goal came when his team desperately needed it, after a Felipe Gutiérrez strike in the 24th minute gave Kansas City an early lead. And while Zlatan did score to level the game at one in the 32nd, this particularly goal was the least impressive of the night:

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Thankfully, his other goals were much better. With the match still tight and the Galaxy holding on to a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute, Zlatan corralled a cross into the box and fired a weak-foot, off-balance shot past KC goalie Tim Melia, giving the Swedish international sole ownership of the Galaxy’s single-season goalscoring record.

The match truly got out of hand after the second Zlatan goal; with a goal from Uriel Antuna and a brace from Sebastian Lletget, the Galaxy locked up the three points with ease. Still, no one puts a cherry on top quite like Zlatan:

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Despite scoring a team-record 26 goals this year, Zlatan will likely not win the MVP, which instead will go to Carlos Vela, whom the big Swede has picked on repeatedly all year. The Galaxy are also unlikely to go on a deep playoff run as currently constructed. But if Vela has been the best player in MLS this season, Zlatan has been the most Zlatan: consistently entertaining, spectacularly self-involved, and, as he showed on Sunday, still able to singlehandedly stuff an opposing team down the garbage chute.

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