Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended for two games by MLS

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Soccer

LOS ANGELES -- Major League Soccer's disciplinary committee has suspended Galaxy captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic for two games because of his actions in the team's loss to New York City FC last Saturday, a club official confirmed Friday.

Ibrahimovic, who is second in the league with nine goals in 10 games, will miss Sunday's home game against the Colorado Rapids and next weekend's road game at Orlando City.

The play that led to the suspension took place in the 87th minute of a 2-0 loss to NYCFC, the Galaxy's third consecutive loss. After putting a shot off the crossbar and watching teammate Chris Pontius put the rebound over the net, Ibrahimovic was bumped in the back by retreating goalkeeper Sean Johnson. Ibrahimovic turned to face Johnson, grabbing him by the neck with his right hand before both players tumbled to the turf.

Johnson lay on the grass for several seconds clutching at his face. After the game, Johnson angrily confronted Ibrahimovic and the two had to be separated by teammates.

There was no word yet on whether Johnson would be suspended.

Days earlier, Ibrahimovic had been fined but not suspended for embellishment in the team's loss at Columbus. Ibrahimovic had earlier escaped punishment for a bizarre incident in which he entered the visitors locker room at Dignity Health Sports Park uninvited after an April win over Real Salt Lake, ostensibly to apologize to defender Nedum Onuoha, who had been the target of Ibrahimovic's trash talk.

Onuoha refused the apology and Ibrahimovic was led out of the locker room by Galaxy officials.

"Never in all my games has an opponent walked into the dressing room five minutes after a game has finished," Onuoha later told a Salt Lake City radio station. "He's saying, 'Have you calmed down now, big man? Have you calmed down?' It's a real surreal moment. I was thinking, 'Why is one of their team here?' And I said, 'No, I've not calmed. If you think it's all right to say the stuff that you said on the field there, then you're wrong,' and then I can't say what I said on the radio, but I told him to get lost."


Onuoha said Ibrahimovic taunted him by repeating, "I'm going to do you, just you wait."

The suspension is the third in MLS for Ibrahimovic and the second for on-field conduct. Last May, he was given a red card for slapping Montreal's Michael Petrasso on the side of the head. The league also forced Ibrahimovic to sit out a game last season after he skipped the MLS All-Star game.

Ibrahimovic was banned repeatedly during his career in Europe. In 2011, while playing for Milan, he received a three-game suspension for punching an opponent in the stomach. He received another three-game suspension a year later for slapping an opponent.

The next season, while playing in France, Ibrahimovic was suspended two games for kicking an opposing goalkeeper in the chest, and three months later he got another ban for stomping on Mexican national team player Andres Guardado.

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