The 37-year-old arrived in Los Angeles from Manchester United, making his debut within a year of undergoing major knee surgery. He marked that debut with an incredible goal from distance against LAFC then headed in the game-winning goal, helping orchestrate a 3-0 half-time deficit to a 4-3 victory on the road. It was his first two goals of a 22 goal, 10 assist campaign in just 27 appearances (2,143 minutes).
Ibrahimovic scored his 500th career goal earlier this season, in a loss to Toronto FC. That, as well as his first goal of the season, are nominees for AT&T 2018 MLS Goal of the Year. He's the first Galaxy player to win the award, which was first given out in 2007.
The Newcomer of the Year Award recognizes players with previous professional experience, which makes rookies ineligible for consideration. Similarly, players eligible for Newcomer of the Year are ineligible for Rookie of the Year.
The award was voted on by MLS club management, media, and current MLS players. Ibrahimovic finished ahead of D.C. United's Wayne Rooney by the smallest of margins, while LAFC's Carlos Vela finished third. Below is a breakdown of the voting results:
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic (LA)||34.99%||28.43%||45.65%||36.36%|
|Wayne Rooney (DC)||30.90%||34.31%||31.53%||32.25%|
|Carlos Vela (LAFC)||12.54%||17.65%||10.21%||13.47%|
|Darwin Quintero (MIN)||6.41%||2.94%||4.20%||4.52%|
|Diego Rossi (LAFC)||2.33%||4.90%||1.80%||3.01%|
|Johnny Russell (SKC)||4.08%||1.96%||1.50%||2.51%|
MLS Newcomer of the Year Winners
- 2018: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – LA Galaxy
- 2017: Miguel Almiron – Atlanta United
- 2016: Nicolas Lodeiro – Seattle Sounders FC
- 2015: Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
- 2014: Pedro Morales – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
- 2013: Diego Valeri – Portland Timbers
- 2012: Federico Higuain – Columbus Crew
- 2011: Mauro Rosales – Seattle Sounders FC
- 2010: Alvaro Saborio – Real Salt Lake
- 2009: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
- 2008: Darren Huckerby – San Jose Earthquakes
- 2007: Luciano Emilio – D.C. United