CARSON, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – The great Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his mark on the field and in the Real Salt Lake locker room Sunday night.
Ibrahimovic scored the game-winning goal in the 78th minute off a pass from Sebastian Lleget, then taunted RSL defender Nedum Onuoha afterwards as the L.A. Galaxy ended Real’s 2-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory.
Ibrahimovic also received a yellow card for pulling Nedum to the turf, and was jawing at him all game long.
After the match, Ibrahimovic came into the RSL locker room to try to apologize, but Nedum wasn’t having it.
“He came in to apologize after the game, because from 60 mnutes in he’s saying to me that he’s going to hurt me for that game,” Nedum said. “This is a guy who is the face of the MLS, as he calls himself, and this is the way he plays on the field? So I don’t care. I’m not going to accept his apoology, its unacceptable. When he scores and gets right in my face, and we’re trying to play a sporting game here, its hard to not react. But if this is the shambles he wants to be, then I’ll let him be it.”
“He’s a staple in this league and the world,” said head coach Mike Petke. “When you talk about forwards; charismatic, he has a personality. He’s always at the top of the list. Why should he be any different for the league in general? Or the referee’s eyes? Again, I have nothing more to say about that because I vowed that I wouldn’t say anything about the things like that this year.”
The Galaxy opened the scoring in the 16th minute when RSL goalkeeper Andrew Putna, starting in place of the injured Nick Rimando, came out of the net, allowing a pass from Chris Pontius to find Uriel Antuna, who buried it in the back or the net to give the Galaxy at 1-0 lead.
After Damir Kreilach’s nearly leveled the match when he shot deflected off the crossbar in the 55th minute, RSL did find the equalizer in the 64th. Aaron Herrera’s shot deflected off Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham right to Danny Toia, who blasted home his first RSL goal.
But Ibrahimovic had the final word with the game-winning goal, denying RSL a point on the road.
“We didn’t come out in the first half the way we wanted to,” said Petke. They got a goal, but we put that behind us. In the second half, we had them on the ropes. What a response in the second half from everybody. We could have, should have had another one.”
RSL had twice as many shots as the Galaxy, 22-11, with both teams putting six shots on frame.
Real Salt Lake goes to 3-5-1 on the year, and next hosts Portland on May 4th at Rio Tinto Stadium.