After scoring in five consecutive games to open his 2019 MLS regular season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was handcuffed in his sixth appearance, as the LA Galaxy played Minnesota United to a 0-0 draw at Allianz Field on Wednesday.
Ibrahimovic had started the campaign on fire, with seven goals in five games, but his scoring streak came to a halt as the Loons notched their first shutout since March 9, with both teams stymied in attack.
But after the game, Ibrahimovic wasn't ready to offer credit to his opponent.
“I mean, I don’t think they did anything special," he told reporters after the game. "I think it became easy for them because I didn’t really have chances, so if you don’t have chances it’s easy for the defenders because they don’t have to react. I felt I didn’t get that clear chance to be able to do something, so I think it was easy work for them.”
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He doubled down on his assessment when asked if the Galaxy picking up a point after not playing great felt like a win of sorts.
“If the opponent was better, yes. I didn’t see the opponent as being good, so I see it more as we lost two points," he explained.
Minnesota head coach Adrian Heath was also not willing to pull punches postgame when speaking to reporters.
“Well it might keep you and everybody else quiet for a week that we’ve kept a clean sheet, because I’m fed up of hearing it. I’m sure you’re fed up of talking about it, because I know I am,” Heath said.
The last time the Galaxy visited Minnesota, Ibrahimovic scored a goal and an assist as LA rolled over the Loons 3-1 in a late-season matchup.
With the Swede unable to replicate that performance on Wednesday, Heath was introspective on appreciating the superstar's play while the 37-year-old is still going.
“I am [ready to stop hearing about Ibrahimovic visit Minnesota], but it’s strange. Because, when you’re my age, you look at all these players – I remember him as a young kid – and now look. And I’ve watched his career, and he’s been incredible. 500 goals and still doing it? Still got that appetite? Let’s make the most of him while we’ve still got him around."
And as a former striker himself, Heath paid tribute to Ibrahimovic after Minnesota kept him at bay.
"We handled Zlatan quite well...I think we better make the most of him, he’s going to be like Frank Sinatra. He’s going to be dead before we realize how good he was.”