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Fuel Soccer Talk: Zlatan Ibrahimovic goes off; Sterling goes to the top; MLS notebook

A little controversy to kick things off today!

Nedum Onuoha: “That’s not the way you’re supposed to play the game”

The growing feud between Real Salt Lake’s Nedum Onuoha and LA Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic is getting around. It’s not only making headlines here, it’s also been the topic of sports radio and even crossed the pond with this headline in the Daily Mail: “Nedum Onuoha blasts Zlatan Ibrahimovic for ‘unacceptable’ behavior as pair clash during La Galaxy’s win over Real Salt Lake.”

In a snapshot, Ibrahimovic scored the winner as the host Gallaxy won 2-1 in the MLS clash this past weekend. The Swedish striker celebrated right in the face of Onuoha after his goal. While Ibrahimovic tried to apologize after the game, Onuoha wasn’t having any of it. In fact, he appeared on the popular radio show Love Sport Radio to voice his side of the story.

“These are words I’ve probably heard twice or three times in all my career, usually by people who are complete thugs,” Onuoha said. “It’s one thing to be competitive but it’s another thing to be threatening harm against another professional. So I was playing with that over my head, thinking every time I came close to him ‘is this going to be the time?’ That’s not the way you’re supposed to play the game.”

Ibrahimovic, the former Milan, Barcelona, PSG and Manchester United striker, is considered the face of the MLS but he certainly has his detractors. The Daily Mail comment section was filled with disdain for the former United player. And you can add Onuoha to the list.

“Never in all my games has an opponent walked into the dressing room five minutes after a game has finished,” Onuoha said. “He’s saying ‘have you calmed down now, big man? Have you calmed down?’ It’s a real surreal moment. I was thinking ‘Why is one of their team here?’ And I said ‘no, I’ve not calmed. If you think it’s alright to say the stuff that you said on the field there, then you’re wrong,’ and then I can’t say what I said on the radio but I told him to get lost.”

In a word or two how would you characterize Zlatan Ibrahimovic?

Sterling named FWA Footballer of the Year

It was only fitting and well deserved that this award would go to the best player on the best team in the best race the PL has ever scene.

Raheem Sterling won the 2019 Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award after his stunning campaign with Manchester City. England international Sterling has played a vital role in the success of Pep Guardiola’s reigning champions, scoring 17 goals and providing 12 assists in the Premier League.

Sterling, just 24, was a clear winner in the vote of over 400 FWA members, taking 62 per cent of the poll and 100 votes more than Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk. Sterling’s fellow City forward Sergio Aguero placed third.

Other players to receive votes were Harry Kane, Eden Hazard, Alexandre Lacazette, Bernardo Silva and David Silva. Sterling becomes the first City winner of football’s oldest individual award for 50 years since defender Tony Book shared the 1969 prize with Derby’s Dave Mackay.

FULL STORY

Should Sterling have won the award?

MLS News & Notes from around the league

Minnesota United FC 1, DC United 0: Don’t look now but Minnesota posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since joining MLS, and have taken points in four of their last five games. D.C. may question the referee’s decision to disallow Donovan Pines’ first half goal – as well as how that ball found the back of the net. Still, it’s only their first road loss of the season, now 3-1-1 away from home. – German Sferra

Atlanta United FC 1, Colorado Rapids 0: In their fourth try of the season, Atlanta finally won at home again, now 1-1-2 at Mercedes-Benz. And while their offensive struggles persist, they’ve also only allowed eight goals. Colorado came into the match having conceded a league-high 23 goals to date, so they may take some comfort in the solid defensive effort. And, 16-year homegrown midfielder Sebastian Anderson did not look out of place in making his professional debut. – German Sferra 

Sporting KC 4, New England Revolution 4: As entertainingly bizarre as this contest was, in the end a point really does neither side any favors. Sporting remain below the playoff line in the Western Conference because they only have two victories to Real Salt Lake’s three. The Revs still sit at the bottom of a more compact Eastern Conference table, when a victory would’ve seen them move all the way up to eighth. – Ian Quillen

For more excellent coverage of this weekend’s MLS action  

LET’S TALK: OK, now you’ve read what’s on my mind…what are your thoughts on the above or any other “football” happenings?

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MAIN PHOTO: Courtesy of DailyMail