A first half stoppage time header from Zlatan was the difference as the Galaxy topped the Fire 1-0 at a rain-soaked Toyota Park Saturday afternoon.
With the temperature in the 40s, the weather was perfect for Zlatan to earn his first start. The opening ten minutes were trying for LA, who had two goals called back: First Ola Kamara was a fraction offside on a diving header, then the Norwegian striker was ruled to have interfered with a Fire own goal that was eventually voided by VAR.
The Galaxy ruthlessly applied pressure with the wind at their backs, even if the end product was lacking at times. After Zlatan wasted a golden 1 on 1 opportunity, the Swedish striker pounced on a floated Ashley Cole cross, nodding past goalkeeper Richard Sanchez from point-blank range to give LA the lead.
The second half began with both teams carving out opportunities: In the 56th minute an unlucky Kamara had a dangerous chance inside the box blocked by a Fire defender, then minutes later David Bingham brilliantly pushed a cross-shot over the bar.
Despite several close calls and the Fire pressing late, the Galaxy would hold on to secure all three points on the road.