Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals as the host LA Galaxy blanked the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-0 on Saturday night.
Ibrahimovic's tallies extended his scoring streak to three games. He could have had a hat trick but unselfishly opted to let teammate Romain Alessandrini take a second-half penalty.
The 36-year-old Sweden international now has five goals in the past five games and 20 in his first Major League Soccer season. He has made 24 appearances with LA, which strengthened its playoff hopes with three games left in the regular season.
The Galaxy (12-11-8, 44 points) posted its second straight shutout win under new coach Dom Kinnear after going without a victory since June. The Whitecaps (11-12-7, 41 points) suffered their third consecutive loss.
The setback spoiled the MLS debut of Vancouver interim coach Craig Dalrymple, who coached his first game after Carl Robinson was fired Monday with five games left in his fifth season with the club. Dalrymple previously headed the club's academy and is not in contention for the first team's permanent coaching post.
Whitecaps striker Kei Kamara said during the week that players were out to prove they were not throwing in the towel after Robinson's dismissal.
But Ibrahimovic opened the scoring just four minutes into the game on a penalty kick after Whitecaps defender Marcel de Jong tripped Alessandrini in the Vancouver box.
The Galaxy, who have been displaying more confidence under Kinnear while also becoming tighter defensively, continued to dominate from there.
Ibrahimovic put the hosts ahead 2-0 in the 58th minute, capitalizing on poor Vancouver defending. He took Rolf Feltscher's pass from the right flank, faked defenders who gave him too much room, cruised to the top of the Whitecaps box and roofed a shot over Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
Ibrahimovic could have had a chance for a hat-trick after defender Doneil Henry fouled him in the Vancouver area in the 75th minute. But Alessandrini took the ensuing penalty kick instead and put a shot high into the right corner of the net above Marinovic.
The goal was Alessandrini's 10th of the season.