Zlatan Ibrahimovic

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FOLLOW LIVE: Ten games to catch on busy MLS Saturday

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With MLS All-Star Week coming up, the remaining MLS weekend schedule is squeezed into Saturday, with no less than ten games on tap.

[ FOLLOW: MLS Scoreboard]

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Wayne Rooney is back with D.C. United after taking a few days to return to England with coach Ben Olsen’s blessing. That meant Rooney missed D.C. United’s 2-0 defeat to Atlanta United last weekend as well as their 8-1 thrashing (with mostly fringe players, to be fair) against Marseille in midweek.

Now, Rooney could be set to go up against former Manchester United Bastian Schweinsteiger and the Chicago Fire, which is looking to move up in the table and snatch a playoff place.

Meanwhile, coming off a dramatic 3-2 derby win over Los Angeles FC, the LA Galaxy now travel north to face the Portland Timbers. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is in stellar form, as seen with his three-goal display last week, but it will be interesting to see how he plays on the turf at the renovated Providence Park. The Timbers meanwhile have predictably seen their form turn positive since returning home, losing just once in their last seven games.

Follow along with us at the link above and stay tuned for more reaction and analysis post game here on PST!

Saturday’s MLS schedule

New England Revolution v. Orlando City — 7 p.m. ET
New York Red Bulls v. Columbus Crew — 7:30 p.m. ET
Chicago Fire v. D.C. United — 8 p.m. ET
FC Dallas v. Real Salt Lake — 8 p.m. ET
Houston Dynamo v. Seattle Sounders — 8 p.m. ET
Minnesota United v. Vancouver Whitecaps — 8 p.m. ET
Montreal Union v. Philadelphia Union — 8 p.m. ET
Toronto FC v. FC Cincinnati — 8 p.m. ET
San Jose Earthquakes v. Colorado Rapids — 10 p.m. ET
Portland Timbers v. LA Galaxy — 10:30 p.m. ET

Zlatan tired of criticism, says he feels ‘hunted’

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic feels as if he has played with a target on his back during his time in Major League Soccer, and that he doesn’t get the same treatment as other players in the league.

After being officially warned for an elbow to the side of Mohamed El-Munir’s head during LA Galaxy’s 3-2 win over LAFC, Ibrahimovic wants to be judged on the whole of his resume and not for every minute detail of his game.

“I feel like I am hunted,” Ibrahimovic told ESPN. “But when you are the best, you’re hunted. That I feel a little bit hunted in that way, that is not OK, because I play my game and I need to feel free in my game and not feel after the game people will look at me and look [at the] detail at everything I do.”

As the highest paid player in the league, Ibrahimovic will obviously have eyes on his every move, but he feels the concept of a Disciplinary Committee to punish players after the fact is excessive.

“That is not part of the game,” Ibrahimovic said. “We have a referee, the referee does his thing. If it goes beyond that, I understand, we have this Disciplinary Committee, but [what is] worse than [being] reviewed every game? I’m professional like everybody else. I should get treated like everybody else. If they cannot stop you on the field, that’s it, you cannot do nothing about it.”

The argument is an odd one from Ibrahimovic, as most leagues around the world have some form of judicial panel meant to apply suspensions and enforce rules that were either missed on the field or require further, more excessive punishment. In the Premier League, where Ibrahimovic played at Manchester United, the FA has a committee to dish out post-match punishment and suspensions.

Still, Ibrahimovic was blunt when it comes to extra punishment off the field. “If you try to do something outside [the field], that for me is not part of the game. That is not professional.”

Zlatan saves his best for the best, Galaxy beat LAFC 3-2 (video)

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CARSON, Calif. (AP) Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his second hat trick in Major League Soccer and the LA Galaxy beat rival Los Angeles FC 3-2 on Friday night in their first meeting of the season.

Ibrahimovic, who is second in the league with 16 goals, scored in the 8th, 56th and 70th minutes. The 37-year-old Swedish star’s first MLS hat trick came last season against Orlando City.

Ibrahimovic has six goals in four matches against LAFC in the rivalry nicknamed “El Trafico”.

MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela scored twice for LAFCs. The forward has 21 goals in 20 games and is the fastest to reach 20 goals in a season in MLS history.

LAFC dropped just its third match in 21 matches. It leads MLS with 46 points, but has not been able to beat its rival during its two seasons. The Galaxy (12-8-1) – who moved into second in the Western Conference with 37 points – have two wins while the other two ended in ties.

LAFC (14-3-4) opened the scoring in the fourth minute when Vela converted on a penalty kick. Vela drew the penalty when Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham came off his line and upended the forward near the goal.

Ibrahimovic evened it four minutes later when he got the feed from Julian Araujo, split defenders Walker Zimmerman and Eddie Segura and fired a shot from the top of the box that beat Tyler Miller.

Ibrahimovic then gave the Galaxy the lead 11 minutes into the second half when he took a pass from Diego Polenta, went over Jordan Harvey and headed it into the net.

He completed the hat trick 14 minutes later with a blast from 21 yards out off Favio Alvarez’s pass.

Vela brought LAFC within a goal in the 97th minute off Eduard Atuesta’s assist.

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

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Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

It’s another Zlatan day, as Galaxy star rips Vela, talks Area 51

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic took a shot at his rivals and his league in one fell swoop.

Perhaps Major League Soccer’s hit is down to proximity and not intent, but the LA Galaxy star certainly didn’t disguise his feelings when asked whether LAFC star Carlos Vela is the best player in the league.

[ MORE: De Ligt joins Juve ]

Vela, 30, has lit MLS on fire to the tune of 19 goals and eight assists in 19 matches, driving the second-year squad to the top of the Western Conference.

Zlatan and the Galaxy’s seasons have trailed behind, relatively speaking. The third-place Galaxy are 12 points behind LAFC, with Ibrahimovic contributing 13 goals and three assists in three fewer games.

“29, he’s playing in MLS and he’s in his prime. When I was 29, where was I?”

Herculez Gomez replies that Ibrahimovic was in Europe (Vela turned 30 in March. At 29, Ibrahimovic scored 21 goals in 41 appearances for AC Milan, on loan from Barcelona. At 30, he scored 35 in 44 for Milan).

“Big difference, exactly.”

Vela, for what it’s worth, spent 2005-17 in Europe. Anyway, here is the exchange.

But wait, there’s more.

Zlatan was also quizzed on Area 51 while in a scrum. For those who may not know, Area 51 is a classified United States military facility in Nevada which has long been speculated as the home of extraterrestrial testing and scientific experimentation.

He doesn’t need to worry about going there, because he has his own Area 51 and there is only one Zlatan.