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LA Galaxy ace Ibrahimovic set to win fitness race to face Portland Timbers

LA Galaxy

Los Angeles Galaxy ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic could well be on his way back into the action after he resumed training ahead of the MLS clash with Portland Timbers on Sunday. Former Barcelona and Manchester united ace Ibrahimovic, who is aged 37, has not enjoyed any game time since the MLS season curtain-raiser on March 2 when, inevitably, he nabbed the winning goal in a 2-1 win over the Chicago Fire.

But a niggling problem with his Achilles means that he has missed the Galaxy’s past two games — now coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto has expressed his confidence that Ibrahimovic will be available for selection. Remember, Ibrahimovic has huge influence still. He was named Galaxy player of the year last term, won MLS newcomer of the year and won the MLS goal of the year for his amazing half-volley from 40 yards out on his debut.

It’s good news for the LA Galaxy boss, who joined the club in January after previously coaching Argentine giants Boca Juniors, when he made mention of bringing an attack-minded style of play to his new charges. After the win over Chicago, Galaxy lost 2-0 at Dallas, before enjoying a 3-2 win over Minnesota United last time of asking. That victory came with Jonathan dos Santos and Chris Pontius scoring first-half goals, and Sebastian Lletget adding the clincher late on in the game.

It was a result that Schelotto was delighted to see, and he was especially pleased with the manner in which his side stuck to their task to gain the win. Before the season started he reiterated that hard work was the key to success. He added: “We need to work on the field during the week to get that success. I think we have good players on offense. They are really good. So, I think we need to work to get that. It’s not easy. It’s not simple, but we need to work.”

LA Galaxy General manager Dennis te Kloese says he has been impressed with the new coach’s ability to organise his squad. And on recruiting the new coach he said: “After a comprehensive search, domestically and internationally, we believe Guillermo will be a landmark signing for this club. Guillermo is a proven winner who has experience coaching, playing and winning for big clubs. It is our hope that Guillermo’s managing style and familiarity with MLS will bring trophies and championships to LA Galaxy fans and the city of Los Angeles.

“First of all, as a player, obviously he’s proven to be able to win with a very accomplished career (he played for Boca Juniors 300 times and also made 118 appearances for Columbus Crew, where he helped them to win the 2008 MLS Cup title).

“And as a coach both in Lanus and Boca Juniors, he came into both teams in situations where there was a lot of need for organisation, a lot of need for structure and a lot of need for quality decisions. And I think in the position that we’re at, we can obviously take great advantage of his knowledge — and his way of thinking about soccer is something that fits us.”