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Everybody enjoy that extraordinary sports weekend?
Yes, Chicago played in the Final Four and, yes, the local baseball teams made their 2018 debuts (hey Cubs, you need to do better than that, sheesh), but this past weekend was also about women's basketball and, wait for it, MLS soccer.
I will acknowledge I never would have guessed I would write the last two words of that last sentence, but after tuning in to the first-ever Los Angeles Football Club vs. Los Angeles Galaxy soccer game (the LAFC is an expansion club and the new rivalry has the clever little nickname of El Tráfico) on Saturday out of curiosity, I proceeded to watch a couple of the best sports moments I've ever seen.
The game was the third-ever for the LAFC and the team has hit the pitch running. The squad won its first two games on the road and took a 3-0 lead early in the second half on Saturday. But the reason so many people tuned in finally happened in the 71st minute. That was when international superstar Zlatan Ibrahimović made his debut for the Galaxy.
Ibrahimovic, who plays internationally for Sweden, has been a goal-scoring marvel for professional teams in just about all the best leagues (most recently for Manchester United and before that PSG). A knee injury sidelined him in December and it did not appear he would be getting back in the lineup anytime soon for Man U.
So he was transferred to the Galaxy. He arrived a little more than two days before his first game, giving him time for essentially one practice with the team that has been the most successful in MLS history, with a half dozen championships in the last 15 years.
Shortly after he entered the game, the Galaxy had pulled to within a goal at 3-2, after falling behind to a seemingly unsurmountable 3-0. Then Ibrahimovic struck with his first goal, a long glorious volley over a goalie who had ventured too far off his line.
If the performance had ended there, it would have been enough. But no, in stoppage time, with the game now tied, the splendid striker started to make a run, realized he was offsides - and that onsides teammate Ashley Cole would be able to get to the ball - went toward the front of the net and then, truly unbelievably, headed in Cole's cross.
The Galaxy held on for another minute to finish the historic win. In more than 5,000 total regular season games in MLS history, only one other time has a team come back from a three-goal deficit to win.
And then there was Arike Ogunbowale, who only had the MOST. DRAMATIC. BASKETBALL. WEEKEND. EVER.
On Friday, the junior guard capped off Notre Dame's amazing 91-89 overtime victory over 9.5-point favorite UConn in their Final Four semifinal with a glorious off-the-dribble, long two-point jump shot to win it with one second left.
How could she possibly top that? With a game-winning three-pointer in the last second of the national championship game to give Notre Dame a 61-58 victory over Mississippi State - on a play that wasn't designed for her.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
1. From Steve Rhodes:
I feel like people aren't talking about how UConn was able to inbound the ball to a player who actually had a decent look, in part because ND and Arike were too busy celebrating! Watch the video!
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Posted on May 13, 2021