Ibrahimovic, who turns 38 in October, was marked pretty tightly by New England’s Brandon Bye. The former Western Michigan defender could only watch as Zlatan juggled the ball forward and then backward to set himself up for this fantastic overhead finish.
It came in a 2-1 loss to New England, the Galaxy losing at home to former boss Bruce Arena and Co.
The loss has the Galaxy nine points back of local rivals LAFC in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, and opens the door for second-place chasing Seattle and Houston. Both the Sounders and Dynamo have matches in hand.
In the 28th minute, the Swedish international went head over heels in the penalty area under pressure from goalkeeper Zack Steffan, but replays showed he wasn’t touched and instead simply threw himself to the ground.
Ibrahimovic owns a whopping nine goals in nine appearances this season, but was held without a tally against Columbus, just the second match all season in which he has not scored. It also marked the second straight loss for the Galaxy, leaving them in second place in the West, with also three games more played than third-placed Houston.
Per league rules, Major League Soccer did not disclose the amount of the fine.
Ibrahimovic has not been shy this season, making headlines nearly every week for something other than goals. Most recently, he was involved in an altercation with Real Salt Lake’s Nedum Onuoah, earning a booking for a horse-collar tackle before making his way to the RSL locker room after the game to confront Onuoah. Ibrahimvoic was not punished for entering the opponent locker room.
When asked about the altercation, D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum, a five-year MLS veteran, said he believes there’s a double standard in the league that skews towards the protection of designated players.
The narrative that Zlatan Ibrahimovic gets away with hardly a slap on the wrist for any number of transgressions that most MLS players wouldn’t dream of committing got another chapter longer on Sunday.
Ibrahimovic, whose career has been littered with physical altercations in a number of different countries, found himself at the center of the drama once again after he sought an altercation with Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha not once, not twice, but three times (at a minimum) during the two sides’ meeting at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic went into the locker room apparently to apologize to Nedum Onuoha for fouling and taunting him during the game. Nedum wanted no part of his apology. #mls#RSL#rsltidpic.twitter.com/F2zcmPTbC2
The two battled all game long, but things started to get personal in the 60th minute.
First, Ibrahimovic wrapped his arm around Onuoha’s neck and threw him to the ground in a lazily disguised attempt to pursue a loose ball. The two then came face-to-face and jawed at one another as Onuoha wasn’t going to be intimidated by Ibrahimovic’s stardom.
18 minutes later, Ibrahimovic scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal — he does this from time to time — but the big Swede marred his own moment by seeking out Onuoha for some more additional taunting. To Onuoha’s credit, he refused to take the bait and remained a consummate professional.
After the game, another turn for the worst: Ibrahimovic entered the RSL locker room and sought out Onuoha once again. They both say he was trying to apologize, but Onuoha had no desire to hear him out. Ibrahimovic was restrained and shown out the door by a member of the Galaxy’s staff.
It’s not the first time Ibrahimovic has overstepped the line of petulance since arriving in MLS. Last May, he open-hand slapped Michael Petrasso in the side of the head/face because the Montreal Impact defender stepped on his foot. The punishment? The automatic one game which comes with the red card he was (rightly) shown for violent conduct, plus… actually, that was it.
There’s been a wave of Panenka penalty attempts across world soccer in the last few months, and when they work, they make the penalty taker look really slick.
When they don’t work, they’re U-G-L-Y.
That’s what happened to Vancouver Whitecaps defender Ali Adnan on Friday night, as he came off worse for wear after failing to capitalize on the chance to give his side an early lead at home over the LA Galaxy.
Lass Bangoura was fouled by Jorgen Skjelvik in the very first minute of the game, leading the referee to award Vancouver the penalty. Adnan stepped up and attempted the Panenka. Unfortunately, his effort was far too light and instead of tucking into the back of the net over top of a sprawled out David Bingham, the weak shot fell short, allowing Bingham to recover just enough from his dive to reach back and collect the ball before it went over the line.
The LA Galaxy twitter account poked fun at the miss, alluding to the daring nature of their own striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic that has become famous as his own slogan. Zlatan started the match for the Galaxy having scored three goals in the two matches he has been healthy enough to play in, bagging a brace last time out against Portland that included – you guessed it – a Panenka.
The saved penalty is another blow to Vancouver, who has collected just two points through the first five matches of the season, nestling into the bottom third of the Western Conference and finding themselves on the wrong end of a major gulf in points already. The Galaxy, meanwhile, came into this match with 10 points through five matches, having already collected three wins.