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Ibrahimovic out for LA Galaxy's visit to FC Dallas; Corona could debut

Update, Friday 6:30 pm ET: Kevin Baxter of The Los Angeles Times has subsequently reported that Ibrahimovic did not make the trip to Frisco and will therefore be unavailable for Saturday's game.

CARSON, Calif. – The LA Galaxy might have to trek to Dallas without their most important star as they hit the road for the first time this season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn't train Wednesday nor Thursday, and head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto says he's not sure the Swedish striker will be available Saturday afternoon when LA take on FC Dallas (3:30 pm | Univision, Twitter — Full TV & streaming info).

“I'm worried because [he didn't practice] yesterday or today,” Schelotto told media after Thursday's training session at Dignity Health Sports Park. “Yesterday it was very dangerous, for the rain, and the field was underwater. I'm worried because he couldn't train today.

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“We talk more now with him maybe. I don't know what's happening in Dallas. I hope to bring him to Dallas, but I don't know.”

Ibrahimovic, who scored 22 goals in 27 games last season for LA, sustained an Achilles' tendon injury during the Galaxy's season opener last weekend. His 80th-minute header from Chris Pontius' blast off the crossbar made the difference in a 2-1 comeback victory over the visiting Chicago Fire.

The Galaxy will definitely be without fellow Designated Player Romain Alessandrini, who sparked LA's dominance in the first 15 minutes or so before departing with a hamstring injury, but will have US national teamer Sebastian Lletget available.

Ibrahimovic, who has not spoken to the media this week, addressed both injuries in general comments after the Chicago match.

“A lot of question marks, a lot of answers today, but today is the first game,” he said. “We get a quick injury on Romain, and I had something I had to work with the whole game, and, yeah, [there are] other players that is not 100 percent. ... I have pain in my Achilles.”

Pontius is the only other listed forward on the Galaxy roster [Editor's note: The Galaxy signed Ethan Zubak on Friday].

Schelotto said Alessandrini would likely miss two games – the Galaxy are home March 16 against Minnesota United – with “something in his hamstring.”

Lletget missed most of the preseason with a partially torn hamstring. He resumed training Tuesday, says he feels “really good” and could return to the field in Dallas, but holding midfielders Perry Kitchen and Juninho remain sidelined.

“We made a lot of progress the last two weeks,” Lletget reported. “I feel amazing, it's great to be back with the squad. ... I've been running really hard for a while. I just wanted to get my fitness up before I got back to the team, and the way they dates lined up [for the opening game], there was really no rush back.

“I knew I wasn't going to play in it, so there was no point [in pushing it to be ready]. But moving forward, I feel really good.”

Schelotto said Lletget “may a little bit play in the match, but I think for some minutes if we can use him in Dallas.”

Juninho missed preseason with a knee injury and returned to training this week, but “he needs some training before he plays,” Schelotto said. Kitchen, who suffered an ankle injury in training near the end of preseason, is expected to be back on the field at the end of March or beginning of April.

Midfielder Joe Corona and French left back Diedie Traore, whose signings were announced Wednesday, could make their Galaxy debuts.

A USMNT veteran, Corona is an option to start in central midfield.

“It's possible, yeah,” Schelotto said. “Because he was training and playing with Tijuana, he will be ready to play. I want to talk something about all of us, how we play, and we talk about the tactics, and he can understand. Maybe he can play.”


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