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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is scared of turf, doesn’t travel

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LA Galaxy will be missing several of their best players, including the guy who has been carrying them on his back.

MLS: Colorado Rapids at Los Angeles Galaxy Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

As the LA Galaxy try to recover from a three-game winless run, they’ll be doing so without their most dangerous player. According to the LA Times, Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not travel with the Galaxy, ostensibly because he didn’t want to play on FieldTurf and risk re-injuring his surgically repaired knee.

Even before it became official, though, Ibrahimovic had given pretty strong indications that he was unlikely to play.

Ibrahimovic has been putting together a somewhat under-the-radar bid for MVP, racking up 15 goals and seven assists in 19 appearances. His goals+assists per 90 of 1.39 would set a MLS record if he were to maintain it for the rest of the season. Josef Martinez, who will almost certainly shatter the single-season goals record, has a G+A/90 of 1.29.

Still, the Galaxy have not exactly fallen apart when Ibrahimovic is unavailable. They are 3-2-1 in those matches, albeit averaging 1.33 goals per game as opposed to the 2.10 they average when he plays.

What makes his absence particularly tough in this game, though, is that the Galaxy were already missing Romain Alessandrini (8 goals, 5 assists), both dos Santos brothers and defender Michael Ciani.