The same is true of the LA Galaxy.
“There's this Swedish guy, he’s like a lion, he scores a lot of goals,” the 88-year-old relayed to the Red Bulls captain.
Luis appreciates his father’s passion and love for all things Major League Soccer. Safe to say, he’s also pretty aware of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the threat he poses when the LA Galaxy come to Red Bull Arena Saturday (2 pm ET | ESPN in US, TSN in Canada).
“We're talking about one of the greatest players of our generation and it seems like he's not slowing down since he's come to MLS, which is great for the LA Galaxy and great for the league,” Robles said after training Thursday. “It also poses a pretty big challenge.”
Ibrahimovic was held scoreless in his first meeting against the Red Bulls — a 3-2 road win for New York last April. But that’s not to say the 37-year-old didn’t influence that game, setting up both Galaxy goals.
“They still found some goals on us. They played well at their place,” defender Aaron Long said. “They were very good at slicing through and Ibra coming off for holdup plays and then flicking balls onto their wingers running through.”
Ibrahimovic’s large frame and larger-than-life persona can be a handful.
“I remember him just complaining a lot about the refs and the team,” fellow defender Tim Parker said. “He's got a presence to him as well, so his presence can intimidate people and then on top of it if he's talking to you I'm sure it can get to you in a way, but we’re not going to let that happen.”
Ibrahimovic’s talking became a talking point after the Galaxy defeated Real Salt Lake, 2-1, at home Sunday. He got in Nedum Onuoha’s face on several occasions with the RSL defender sounding off after about his “complete thug” actions, refusing to accept Ibrahimovic’s apology when the Galaxy forward entered the visitors locker room at Dignity Health Sports Complex.
Ibrahimovic admitted that he needs to be angry to play with that extra edge. But the Red Bulls center back tandem of Long and Parker aren’t too worried about what Ibra might say. If he talked trash last year, neither were admitting it.
“I don't really pay much attention to it,” Parker said. “Some people love that kind of aspect of the game, but that's not really for me.”
“Honestly there's no tactics from my end in like trash talk or anything like that,” Long added. “I’m just gonna go out there and play.”
Their concern is more about Ibrahimovic’s skills than the lion’s roar.
“He's a great player. His pedigree shows that, the amount of goals he has per game and how he's doing this year, so he's going to be tough. We’ll just try to limit time and space,” Long said. “I know he does like to go back post and drift for some headers so when he's in the box just make sure one of us has an arm on them, just make it as tough as we can on you.”