Overshadowing the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 win over the Montreal Impact on Monday — ending a three-match losing streak — was veteran forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic picking up his first red card in Major League Soccer.
The Swede will thus not be eligible to play when the Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday in the first meeting this season of the California Clasico between the teams at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. He will also be forced to miss the upcoming match with FC Dallas.
He did not get a red card while with Manchester United for 1 1/2 seasons, but he was suspended for three matches for elbowing Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings. Ibrahimovic may also be frustrated by only scoring one goal in the last seven matches after scoring twice in his Galaxy debut in the season opener.
LA, which missed the MLS playoffs last year, has also struggled with a 4-6-1 (13 points) record. San Jose is a meager 2-6-3 (nine points).
“This is what I said in the beginning, I’m looking and I am learning,” Ibrahimovic said, as quoted on MLSSoccer.com. “I need to adjust and come into the system.
“I am here only for five weeks and everything is still new for me and we are 14 new players and so the coach has to work with this team. … But, it will be good, I am positive. I have big motivation and look forward to every game because training is one thing and playing games is another thing.”
The Galaxy were down to 10 players with five minutes left to play in the first half but they still managed to win with a goal by Ola Kamara — his fourth straight in as many matches — in the second half. The win was the Galaxy’s first since April 14 against the Chicago Fire.
“The guys really pulled together, stayed together,” Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid said. “Even when we went down a man we said just be patient, we’re going to bend a little bit, they’re going to have the ball, but keep defending well, deal with the crosses that they send into the box and then look for our goal.”
San Jose is coming off a 3-1 loss at home to D.C. United. The Quakes have only one win in the last 10 matches dating to the season-opening win over Minnesota United on March 3.
“It’s absolutely a disaster,” rookie coach Mikael Stahre said of the season to this point. “My bad.”
San Jose is 1-3-1 at home. United entered with the league’s worst record and ended its 10-game road winless streak. The Quakes rank last in the MLS allowing two goals per match.
“It’s thought to be going the right way,” 10-year veteran Quincy Amarikwa said of San Jose’s outlook at the start. “But you don’t know if it is the right way until the results prove it was the right way.
“Do I think we have what is necessary to be a winning team? Yes. Do I think given enough time we can figure it out? Yes. But do I believe that everyone will buy in long enough to see the results? That remains to be seen.”