CARSON, Calif. — Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been suspended for two games by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, the league announced today.
The suspension stems from an incident that took place last Saturday in a 2-0 loss to New York City FC. During the game, Ibrahimovic and NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson came together in the 87th minute of the match shortly after Ibrahimovic’s shot went off the crossbar and subsequently went out of bounds.
Johnson ran into Ibrahimovic, chest first, initiating the contact after the play, and Ibrahimovic grabbed Johnson with his right hand on the side of his neck while Johnson is seen to do the same to Ibrahimovic.
Johnson then fell to the ground holding his face.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) reviewed the play and let the two yellow cards, issued by head referee Chris Penso, stand — one to each player.
“The MLS Disciplinary Committee has suspended LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović for two games and issued an undisclosed fine for violent conduct in the 86th minute of the Galaxy’s match against New York City FC on May 11 (VIDEO),” the press release read.
There was no mention of any further punishment for Johnson from the league.
Ibrahimovic was not available to the media after training today and will miss this Sunday’s match vs. the Colorado Rapids (5 p.m.; SpectrumSN) and next Friday’s away trip to Orlando City (4 p.m.; Univision, UniMas).
This is Ibrahimovic’s second suspension since joining the Galaxy — although his other suspension was for his refusal to play during the league’s All-Star Game which was being held on an artificial surface in Atlanta.
Ibrahimovic received a red card in last year’s victory over the Montreal Impact and had to sit out the next game as a result. He also received a fine from the Disciplinary Committee previous week for embellishment or simulation in the 23rd minute of the match against the Columbus Crew on May 8.
There was, however, no explanation of why the decision took so long and why, as of training on Friday, the league had not announced their decision.
The delay of that announcement led to massive confusion at training as players acknowledged that Ibrahimovic was going to miss this Sunday’s match while Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto told reporters that he’d received no official notification.
It was a troubling look for a league that is continually trying to be recognized on equal footing as other professional sports in the United States.