With all the goals Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ola Kamara and the others have banged home this year, it’s easy to forget how much the Galaxy struggled to produce goals last season.
Along with a last place finish in the west, the Galaxy also had the sixth lowest goal total in the league last season, posting a measly 45 goals in 2017. With 13 goals, leading scorer Romain Alessandrini was the only attacker to post double-figure numbers.
While the Galaxy had many issues heading into the offseason, it was obvious the team needed to make changes up top. Signing a new forward or two was a priority for the club. A few months into the offseason, the team acquired forward Ola Kamara in a trade with the Columbus Crew SC in January, giving up Gyasi Zardes and $400,000 in Targeted Allocation Money in exchange for the Norwegian striker.
It was a brilliant maneuver: LA landed a lethal consistent attacker while offloading someone in Gyasi who was a fan favorite but struggled mightily in front of net. (Zardes has since thrived in Columbus)
The organization still had one more move up its sleeve. In late March, the team used its Targeted Allocation Money to sign superstar forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Manchester United. It was considered a risky decision for the club as the Swedish target striker was fresh off of a catastrophic knee injury.
Fast forward to October and these signings up top have paid dividends for the Galaxy. Zlatan and Kamara have been huge difference makers for the club. Along with the Galaxy being in a position to compete for a playoff spot, the club is also the third highest scoring team in the league, with 61 total goals this season. The Galaxy also has three scorers in double figures this year, including Zlatan who has scored 21 goals this season, Kamara who has scored 11 and Alessandrini who has tallied 10.
Zlatan in particular is having a historic season with the Galaxy. Only Atlanta United’s Josef Martinez has scored more goals in the league, and the Venezuluan has enjoyed considerably more minutes. Ibrahimovic has also tallied the highest amount of goals any Galaxy player has scored in a single season, since forward Carlos Ruiz scored 24 back in 2004. With two regular season games remaining on the schedule, there’s a real possibility Zlatan can surpass that total.
Amid all of the hype surrounding Zlatan this season, Kamara has quietly been an integral part of the Galaxy’s attack. While he hasn’t scored as much as Ibrahimovic, his stye of play has complimented the Swedish forward well this season.
Kamara is a solid passer in the box and his ability to draw fouls with his pace and dribbling ability has helped set up multiple scoring opportunities for the Galaxy this year. The Norwegian forward has also been an excellent poacher this season, collecting loose balls in the six yard box and putting them away for goals.
As the Galaxy look to earn a spot in the playoffs, the club will have to continue finding ways to get Zlatan and Kamara involved up top. Their production is critical to the success of the team this year.