LA Galaxy's Zlatan Ibrahimovic ready to play on Minnesota turf with playoffs on line
LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic said he owes it to the fans to play against Minnesota United despite the fact that the match will be played on an artificial surface.
Ibrahimovic, 37, has only played on turf once because of injury concerns since joining the Galaxy from Manchester United for the 2018 season, but will be ready for Sunday's match against the Loons with LA in playoff contention and a crowd of 50,000 expected at TCF Bank Stadium on the University of Minnesota's campus.
"We are in the [playoff] picture, and more than 50,000 is coming, and I owe them to come because obviously, they don't have this crowd every home game," Ibrahimovic said. "I'm sure they're not coming for Minnesota, so I'll come, and I'll make them enjoy."
LA is in seventh place -- one point behind Real Salt Lake -- in Major League Soccer's Western Conference with two games left to play and one will be on the artificial surface at Minnesota.
Galaxy manager Dominic Kinnear said he talked to Ibrahimovic, the team's leading scorer with 21 goals this season, and said the former Sweden international will be ready to go.
"Obviously, as a coach, you don't want to put a player in a situation where he's not going to be successful, or he could injure himself," Kinnear said. "We've already had a conversation beforehand, but he knows the importance of the game, and he wants to play and wants to play well."
Six of the 22 MLS teams play on various artificial surfaces including Seattle, Portland, New England, Atlanta, Minnesota and Vancouver.
Minnesota is expected to move into a soccer-specific stadium with natural grass next season.