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Ibrahimovic returns as Galaxy head to Kansas City

(Image: Instagram/@iamzlatanibrahimovic)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be back in the lineup when the Los Angeles Galaxy meet Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan.

Ibrahimovic served a two-game suspension for “violent conduct” against New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson on May 11 and the Galaxy certainly missed his scoring punch. The Galaxy (8-5-1, 25 points) scored just one goal without him while splitting games against the Colorado Rapids and Orlando City.

Midfielder Jonathan dos Santos’ goal against Orlando City gave LA a 1-0 road win last Friday to snap a four-game losing skid.

The 29-year-old dos Santos persevered during the match despite a hip injury.

“It was a little difficult, but when I start to have pain in my hip and I start to do some movements, my body gets tired faster because I don’t have the complete mobility,” dos Santos told reporters. “But I suffer with that pain and try to do everything I can for the team.

“From one part, it takes a lot from me. Almost every year, I experience some pain in my hip but like I’ve always said, there’s never an excuse. If you are going to play, you are going to play at 100 percent.”

Sporting K.C. (3-4-5, 14 points) have been dealing with injuries all season but star defender Matt Besler has played the past two games after being sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Besler played 79 minutes in Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Seattle Sounders but said he believes he can make the short turnaround and play significant minutes against the Galaxy.

“My body has recovered really well from the game,” Besler said in an interview with Kansas City Sports Radio 810 WHB. “The hamstring is good. … I went as long as I could, and fortunately a bunch of guys stepped up and we were able to close out the game.”

Having Besler is key with Ibrahimovic returning to the action. The 37-year-old star forward has nine goals in 10 matches this season.

“He’s a difference maker for sure,” Besler said of Ibrahimovic. “He’s so competitive and has skills that no one else really has. He’s 6-5 and 230 pounds, which you don’t really see that build as a soccer player.

“He’s going to be extra motivated because he’s been suspended the last two games. Anytime you go up against a guy like him, it’s a challenge but it’s also an opportunity.”

SKC halted a seven-game winless slide (0-3-4) with the win over Seattle. Forward Johnny Russell scored all three goals and is tied for the team lead with forward Krisztian Nemeth with seven.

Nemeth will miss his second straight game due to suspension for a serious foul during a match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on May 18. He sat out against Seattle and the MLS Disciplinary Committee tacked on the second match penalty on Tuesday.

REUTERS/Field Level Media

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