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Galaxy aim to bounce back against New York City FC

(Image: Twitter/@LAGalaxy)

After a two-game road swing that did not go as planned, including a visit to the New York City area, the Los Angeles Galaxy now will welcome New York to Southern California.

The Galaxy will play host to New York City FC on Saturday afternoon at Carson, Calif., marking their return home from a trip that saw them lose 3-2 at the New York Red Bulls one week earlier and 3-1 at the Columbus Crew on Wednesday.

It was the first back-to-back defeats all season for the Galaxy (7-3-1, 22 points), who have used an improved defense, and an offense led by striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, to become one of the top teams in MLS’s Western Conference one year after failing to make the playoffs.

But that defense has shown some vulnerability after giving up six goals combined over the last two games.

NYCFC (3-1-6, 15 points) enters with just one loss all season, a 4-0 throttling at Toronto FC on March 29. But NYCFC has gone 3-0-3 since, including a 2-0 victory at Montreal last weekend that was the start of four consecutive road games.

The teams have met four times with NYCFC holding a 3-1-0 advantage. The last time they faced each other on the Galaxy’s home turf, New York earned a 2-0 victory in 2017.

Saturday’s game is sure to put NYCFC defender Anton Tinnerholm up against Ibrahimovic as the two Sweden natives go head-to-head.

“He is the best player ever that Sweden had, so of course it’s going to be fun to play against him,” Tinnerholm said. “I have played against him and played with him on the international team, so I know how good he is and he is having good (results) for the moment.”

Ibrahimovic’s nine goals are second in the league to the 11 from Los Angeles FC’s Carlos Vela. The Galaxy star did not score against the Crew but had a goal and an assist against the Red Bulls. After he was slowed early by a sore Achilles, Ibrahimovic has played every minute of the last eight games.

“I’m enjoying it,” Ibrahimovic said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Most importantly, I feel good physically and as long as I feel good, I can’t worry about what I do on the field. I am confident and I just need to stay physically good and enjoy the game.”

Galaxy defender Julian Araujo (foot) is questionable, as are NYCFC defenders Ronald Matarrita (calf) and James Sands (adductor), plus forward Alexandru Mitrita (foot).

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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