For the first time since he joined Major League Soccer, the New York Red Bulls will welcome Zlatan Ibrahimović to Red Bull Arena, as they take on the Galaxy on Saturday May 4.
The Red Bulls are coming off their first shutout of the season last Saturday, defeating FC Cincinnati 1-0, which according to defender Aaron Long has the team feeling good going into the matchup against the Galaxy.
“It feels good to get a shutout,” Long said. “We feel good on that end, and we're trying to keep it rolling at home again. Another shutout, another three points.”
One way to get that shutout will be slowing down and limiting the space for Ibrahimović, who leads the team with eight goals in seven games this season.
“He's a great player, his pedigree shows that,” Long said. “The amount of goals he has per game and how he's doing it this year, he's going to be tough. We'll just try to limit time and space.”
Tim Parker echoed those same sentiments and talked about the team needing to make scoring chances difficult for him come Saturday.
“I think whenever you play against someone that can score goals like he can, you want to obviously limit his chances and if he gets a chance you want to make sure it's not an easy one,” Parker said.
Even when Ibrahimović isn’t scoring goals, the Red Bulls know they have to be aware of him at all times during the match. And if New York plays the way they’re accustomed to playing, they should find success against Los Angeles.
“He really makes a difference for his team and even when the offense is not necessarily running through him it ends up ending with him,” Captain Luis Robles said. “These are things we have to be consistently mindful of, and if we can play defensively as a group and take care of our offense, it puts us in a great position to do well against LA”
In their lone matchup in the 2018 season, the Red Bulls took down the Galaxy 3-2 at Dignity Health Sports Park, which should provide the Red Bulls with added confidence knowing this time around they’ll be playing them on their home turf. Opening kick is slated for 2 p.m. ET in Red Bull Arena with coverage on ESPN, ESPN+ and New York Red Bulls Radio on TuneIn.