LA Galaxy set up a blockbuster El Trafico derby showdown with rivals Los Angeles FC in the MLS Western Conference semi-finals after edging Minnesota United 2-1.

Second-half goals from Sebastian Lletget and Jonathan dos Santos saw the Galaxy past hosts Minnesota in the first round of the play-offs on Sunday.

After a scoreless first half at Allianz Field, Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Galaxy broke the deadlock via Lletget – who bounced on a deflected shot by the former Manchester United striker with 19 minutes remaining.

Dos Santos doubled the lead four minutes later with a curling effort beyond Minnesota goalkeeper and ex-Arsenal shot-stopper Vito Mannone.

Jan Gregus scored a late goal for Minnesota, but the Galaxy were not to be denied as they look ahead to a mouth-watering clash against Supporters' Shield champions LAFC.

In Sunday's other play-off match, Philadelphia Union prevailed 4-3 against New York Red Bulls after extra time in an historic victory.

The Union overcame the Red Bulls in a thriller for their first play-off victory, having lost their four previous post-season matches.

Philadelphia trailed 2-0 and 3-1 but rallied on both occasions to force extra time as Marco Fabian's 106th-minute goal sent the Union through to the next round.

Next up for the Union are defending champions Atlanta United in the Eastern Conference semis.

Carlo Ancelotti joked he will call Zlatan Ibrahimovic about a move to Napoli following Saturday's 2-0 win over Hellas Verona.

LA Galaxy superstar Ibrahimovic talked up his chances of a return to Serie A as the 38-year-old expressed his interest in playing for Ancelotti's Napoli.

Former Juventus, Inter and AC Milan striker Ibrahimovic claimed he would score 20 goals a season in Italy's top flight during an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport.

Responding to Ibrahimovic's comments after Arkadiusz Milik's double guided Napoli past Verona, head coach Ancelotti told Sky Sport Italia: "I'll call him tonight and say we're waiting!

"I have a great deal of affection for him, I saw he scored 29 goals in 30 MLS games.

"Tomorrow, after I've called him, I'll let you know how it went!"

Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy are in action in the MLS play-offs on Sunday.

The Galaxy will meet Minnesota United for a spot in the Western Conference semi-finals against Supporters' Shield champions Los Angeles FC.

Ibrahimovic netted 30 goals during the regular season, four adrift of top scorer and LAFC captain Carlos Vela.

Ex-Manchester United star Ibrahimovic is out of contract at the end of the season and the veteran has been linked with a return to Italy, as well as Argentine giants Boca Juniors – where Roma great Daniele De Rossi is based.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed he would still score 20 goals a season in Serie A as he talked up his chances of a return to Italy's top flight.

But Ibrahimovic labelled former club AC Milan "a disaster" in a wide-ranging interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, while also poking fun at Inter forward Romelu Lukaku's first touch.

Former Sweden striker Ibrahimovic was discussing his options for a next move as his LA Galaxy contract expires in December following the MLS playoffs.

The 38-year-old has been linked with a return to Manchester United, but he suggested Serie A, where he represented Juventus and both Milan clubs, might be his preferred destination.

"I am 38 years old and have the enthusiasm of a kid, with that same desire to win. That, for me, is everything," Ibrahimovic said.

"Italy is my second home. I will listen to all offers, but I want to fight for the maximum target. If I were to come back, I'd want to challenge for the Scudetto, not just be signed by someone because I am Ibrahimovic.

"I can still make the difference. I'm not a zoo animal to be put on display for people to see. I can still get 20 goals in Serie A."

Milan, who are 13th in Serie A with nine points from seven matches, would not appear to be an option, though, and Ibrahimovic picked out Paolo Maldini for criticism.

"Milan are a disaster. They're all talk and no action," he said.

"This is not the club everyone fell in love with, in Italy and all over the world. Perhaps there are too many wrong people who should be elsewhere.

"Paolo Maldini doesn't have what it takes to be a director, whereas in his playing career he was one of my all-time favourites."

Meanwhile, the striker revealed a mooted bet with former team-mate Lukaku, whose touch was maligned by some supporters during his time at United.

Ibrahimovic explained: "At Manchester United, we made a bet, 'I'll give you £50 for every decent first touch you make'. He replied: 'What do I win if I get them all right?'

"I told him nothing, he would simply become a better player. For the record, he never accepted the bet! Perhaps he was afraid of losing."

The MLS playoffs are here once more.

Los Angeles FC cruised to the Supporters' Shield title, but the path to MLS Cup glory is far from straightforward even for the league's outstanding team.

Since 2011, only Toronto FC have successfully followed up a regular season championship by conquering the postseason.

Will LAFC join them, or can Bob Bradley's men be stopped? We take a look at the key issues surrounding the leading contenders heading into the playoffs.
 

ARE LAFC AND CARLOS VELA THE BEST EVER?

The above statistic may make for uncomfortable reading for Shield winners LAFC, but no past regular-season champions have been able to match the standards set by Bradley's side.

Toronto broke a points record that had stood for 19 years when they earned 69 in 2017, yet the New York Red Bulls bettered that last year and the new benchmark of 71 was topped once more by LAFC, a late-season slump merely limiting the runaway leaders to 72 points.

Carlos Vela was key to the team's achievements this year and any side hoping to stop LAFC must somehow master the Mexican. He scored a record 34 goals, including a final-day hat-trick, and will aim to echo Josef Martinez, the previous record-holder in 2018, by making his mark in the coming weeks.
 

CAN ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC AND THE GALAXY STOP THEIR RIVALS?

Having missed out on the postseason last year, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was rather bold - perhaps unsurprisingly - as he slammed the playoff structure in MLS earlier this term, believing it provides excuses for players not to deliver all year round.

The Swedish superstar has at least followed up those words by guiding LA Galaxy to the playoffs this time, while seemingly on a personal crusade to prove he is the greatest player in league history - sparking a rivalry with Vela.

Galaxy's style of play has not been particularly pretty since trading a potentially smart newly built side for long-ball-to-Zlatan early last year, but it has proved effective on occasion. Notably, LAFC still have not beaten their neighbours in five attempts and might fear another meeting.
 

HAVE NYCFC GOT WHAT IT TAKES WITHOUT BIG NAMES?

New York City made a big bang when they arrived in MLS, signing David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, but their star power counted for little in a desperate first season.

Club icon Villa then led NYCFC to the Eastern Conference semi-finals in three straight seasons, before departing at the end of 2018 with the team struggling to recreate the high level of performances under Patrick Vieira with new coach Domenec Torrent.

However, Torrent has got the Bronx outfit playing some of the best football in MLS this season, all without a standout star. The supposedly more modest talents of Anton Tinnerholm, Maxi Moralez, Alexandru Mitrita and Heber, among others, have fired City to the top of the conference, but the playoffs are a different beast.
 

IS THERE LIFE LEFT IN DEFENDING CHAMPS ATLANTA YET?

Despite failing to win the Shield, Atlanta United's class of 2018 might still have a case for being the best team in league history for the timebeing, but they then lost inspirational coach Tata Martino and star playmaker Miguel Almiron after MLS Cup.

Frank de Boer arrived and his infamously unconvincing record outside of Ajax looked set to continue early on, until a string of clean sheets steadied the ship. Even then, it took Martinez's sensational 15-game scoring streak to secure a comfortable playoff spot.

Pity Martinez has not really convinced and a late-season injury for Josef means Atlanta's preparation for their postseason title defence has not entirely gone to plan.
 

THE BEST OF THE REST...

Minnesota United have been a surprise package this year, having added experience last offseason, but a title push is surely beyond them. Rivals Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers both have experience of success at this time of year, however.

In the East, Wayne Rooney will hope to leave DC United on a high but the signs have not been promising late in the campaign. Philadelphia Union have impressed, while Toronto still have a very strong side on paper.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vowed he would draw on his inner "viking" as he weighed up the prospect of playing in the snow at Minnesota United in the MLS play-offs.

Ibrahimovic has packed his career with bold claims, regularly referring to himself as a "lion", and he remains bullish despite the potentially tricky conditions at Allianz Field on Sunday.

LA Galaxy have returned to the post-season but face a tough trip to surprise package Minnesota, who have hosted snow games in the past in the colder months of the year.

Star Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic, born in Sweden, does not foresee any adverse weather being an issue for himself or LA.

"I'm from Sweden, I was born in the snow," the 38-year-old said in an interview posted on Galaxy's Twitter page.

"When it snows, I'm a viking. When it's warm, I'm a lion. We adjust for every condition there is."

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in 29 regular season games in 2019, leading LA back to the play-offs after missing out in his first MLS campaign following a remarkable final-day collapse by the team last year.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped to unveil his own shirtless statue in his home town of Malmo on Tuesday.

The LA Galaxy star has been immortalised in a striking bronze monument near Malmo's stadium, where he began his professional career in 1999.

The 38-year-old posted a picture on Twitter showing him alongside the work and surrounded by crowds of fans, with the caption: "We are Zweden!!!"

The bronze Zlatan, standing on a plinth and said to measure nearly nine feet in height and close to half a ton in weight, was commissioned by Sweden's football authorities to honour their record goalscorer.

It depicts Ibrahimovic celebrating in recognisable style, with arms outstretched and shirt off - although his famous tattoos appear not to have been carved on the glistening torso.

Ibrahimovic hinted at the statue's creation back in December 2016, when he was still a Manchester United player.

The retired former Sweden international posted a photo on Instagram of the plaster cast of the work, writing: "When you come to New York you have the Statue of Liberty, when you come to Sweden you have the Statue of Zlatan."

Ibrahimovic is on a break ahead of the MLS playoffs, having scored 30 goals in 29 regular-season games in 2019 to help his team finish fifth in the Western Conference.

They face Minnesota United on October 20 at Allianz Field.

Los Angeles FC star Carlos Vela broke the MLS record for regular-season goals in his hat-trick performance, while Atlanta United's Josef Martinez scored on his return.

Vela shattered the record set by Martinez (31) in 2018 as LAFC ended their regular-season campaign with a 3-1 win over Colorado Rapids on Sunday.

LAFC's Vela surpassed Martinez with 34 goals thanks to his treble against the Rapids at Banc of California Stadium, while he also won the Golden Boot.

Vela broke the deadlock with a sublime opener in the 28th minute before the Mexico international's overhead kick doubled the lead three minutes later in Los Angeles.

Kei Kamara pulled a goal back for the Rapids in the 40th minute, but Vela restored LAFC's two-goal advantage six minutes into the second half.

Supporters' Shield winners LAFC – who broke the record for most points (72) and equalled the mark for most goals scored (85) in the regular season – will face either LA Galaxy or Minnesota United in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring but the Galaxy suffered a 4-2 defeat away to Houston Dynamo on Decision Day.

The Galaxy twice led, however, the visitors conceded three unanswered goals to finish fifth and set up a showdown with Minnesota – who lost 1-0 to Seattle Sounders as the latter locked up the second seed.

Martinez returned from a knee injury to lead reigning MLS champions Atlanta to a 3-1 victory against New England Revolution.

The Venezuela international scored Atlanta's second goal of the match to take his season tally to 27 goals as Frank de Boer's men look ahead to another meeting with the seventh-placed Revolution in the first round of the Eastern Conference play-offs.

Eastern Conference leaders New York City concluded their regular-season campaign with a 2-1 win at Philadelphia Union, Dallas humiliated Sporting Kansas City 6-0 and Wayne Rooney's DC United were held to a 0-0 draw by nine-man FC Cincinnati.

New York Red Bulls lost 3-0 to Montreal Impact, Toronto beat Columbus Crew 1-0, Portland Timbers accounted for San Jose Earthquakes 3-1, while Real Salt Lake edged Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 and Chicago Fire beat Orlando City 5-2.

Carlos Vela equalled an MLS record on Sunday as Real Salt Lake and New England Revolution booked their spots in the play-offs.

Vela equalled Josef Martinez's record for most goals in a season, taking his tally to 31 in Los Angeles FC's 1-1 draw with Minnesota United.

The Mexican star put LAFC ahead with a superb curling strike from inside the area in the 70th minute at Allianz Field.

However, Michael Boxall headed in an equaliser for Minnesota, who trail LAFC by 16 points in the Western Conference.

Real Salt Lake secured a play-off berth courtesy of a 2-1 victory at home to Houston Dynamo.

Corey Baird needed just 35 seconds to put RSL ahead, but Tomas Martinez cancelled out the opener.

However, Jefferson Savarino's fine strike into the bottom corner from the edge of the area helped Real Salt Lake advance to the play-offs from the Western Conference.

New England moved through after a 2-0 win over New York City, who wrapped up top spot in the east.

Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou scored second-half goals for the Revolution.

Elsewhere, Bojan Krkic scored in Montreal Impact's 1-1 draw with defending champions Atlanta United and Zlatan Ibrahimovic netted his 29th goal of the season in LA Galaxy's 4-3 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps.

Jordan Morris' late winner saw Seattle Sounders edge San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men, Sporting Kansas City and Portland Timbers drew 2-2 and Colorado Rapids beat Dallas 3-0.

Chicago Fire and Toronto drew 2-2, Columbus Crew overcame Philadelphia Union 2-0, New York Red Bulls and DC United played out a 0-0 draw and Cincinnati drew 1-1 with Orlando City.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to join Boca Juniors and the move could still happen, according to one of the club's directors.

The LA Galaxy star's agent, Mino Raiola, recently rubbished rumours he was attempting to arrange a transfer for the well-travelled 37-year-old.

But Boca board member Jorge Anro claims Ibrahimovic's interest in a move to the Bombonera is real and insists a deal remains a possibility.

The former Juventus, Barcelona and Manchester United striker has spent the past 18 months in the United States, scoring 50 MLS goals.

"It is true that Ibrahimovic wants to play for Boca and it is true that we are in a position to bring him in," Anro told Mundo Boca Radio, as quoted by AS.

"The club is in a very good moment institutionally. It is so good financially that it can afford those luxuries.

"We would be able to pay Zlatan's contract."

Boca made a splash in July when they lured Roma great Daniele De Rossi to Buenos Aires on a free transfer.

Ibrahimovic is contracted to Galaxy for the rest of the 2019 MLS season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped LA Galaxy clinch their spot in the MLS play-offs, while New York City thrashed Atlanta United on Wednesday.

Ibrahimovic scored and provided an assist as the Galaxy edged Real Salt Lake 2-1 in Utah for their third consecutive win.

The striker flicked on a header that Cristian Pavon ran onto and finished for the 50th-minute opener.

Pavon returned the favour 30 minutes later, laying off for Ibrahimovic to side-foot home from inside the area for his 28th MLS goal of the season.

Nedum Onuoha pulled a goal back late for Real Salt Lake, but Galaxy held on to climb into third in the Western Conference.

Alexandru Mitrita inspired New York City to a 4-1 win over Atlanta United at Yankee Stadium as they retained their six-point lead atop the Eastern Conference.

Mitrita opened the scoring from the edge of the area in the 14th minute before netting his second with an effort off the post.

The Romania international completed his hat-trick in the 34th minute, tapping away a rebound after a Brad Guzan save.

City's Maximiliano Moralez missed a first-half penalty while Pity Martinez struck from the spot for Atlanta – who were without injured star Josef Martinez – before Heber's late sealer.

Minnesota United came from behind to beat Sporting Kansas City 2-1 and secure their spot in the play-offs.

Carlos Vela scored a penalty in Los Angeles FC's 3-1 win over Houston Dynamo, New England Revolution rallied to draw 2-2 with the Portland Timbers and Philadelphia Union recorded a 2-1 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has not been offered to Boca Juniors, according to his agent Mino Raiola.

Reports in Spain have claimed LA Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic is a target for the Argentine giants. 

Boca have already landed former Roma captain Daniele De Rossi, with newspaper AS suggesting Ibrahimovic could follow from Galaxy when his contract expires in December.

Raiola, however, used social media to refute claims he is trying to engineer a move to the Copa Libertadores semi-finalists for Ibrahimovic.

"I have never offered Ibrahimovic to Boca Juniors or to anybody else. Total #fakenews," Raiola wrote on Twitter.

Ibrahimovic, 37, has thrived in MLS since leaving Manchester United, scoring 49 goals in 53 games for Galaxy.

Despite his outstanding form, Galaxy are fourth in the Western Conference, 17 points behind rivals Los Angeles FC, having missed the playoffs last season.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic continued his red-hot form after leading LA Galaxy to victory as stuttering Los Angeles FC drew again, while Atlanta United star Josef Martinez was carried off on a stretcher.

Ibrahimovic scored his 27th goal of the season to lead the Galaxy to a 2-1 win over visiting Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Former Manchester United striker Ibrahimovic broke the deadlock with a close-range finish in the 31st minute at Dignity Health Sports Park – taking the 37-year-old's tally to 11 goals in his past seven matches.

Montreal's Lassi Lappalainen equalised three minutes into the second half, however, Uriel Antuna bundled the ball home five minutes later to restore the Galaxy's lead.

Back-to-back wins saw the Galaxy move up to third in the Western Conference, while the Impact are four points adrift of the play-off places in the Eastern Conference.

LAFC's winless streak extended to five games following their last-gasp 1-1 draw at home to Toronto.

Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC looked to have succumbed to Tsubasa Endoh's 19th-minute goal as Toronto – fourth in the east – still clinched a post-season berth.

But MLS top goalscorer Carlos Vela converted a 95th-minute penalty for his 29th goal of the campaign to avoid defeat for LAFC.

LAFC are eight points clear in the race for the Supporters' Shield, though Eastern Conference leaders New York City can reduce that lead to five with victory on Sunday.

Martinez's record 15-match scoring streak came to an end after suffering a knee injury in Atlanta's 3-1 victory against nine-man San Jose Earthquakes.

The Venezuela international was forced to be substituted in the 79th minute after colliding with a team-mate at home to the Earthquakes.

Defending champions Atlanta stayed within three points of New York City thanks to stoppage-time goals from Emerson Hyndman and Gonzalo Martinez.

Elsewhere, Colorado Rapids edged Sporting Kansas City 3-2, Houston Dynamo defeated Orlando City 2-1, Vancouver Whitecaps salved a 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew, Real Salt Lake played out a goalless draw at New England Revolution, while FC Cincinnati and Chicago Fire drew by the same scoreline.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic broke an LA Galaxy goalscoring record in Sunday's 7-2 win over Sporting Kansas City and said finding the target is easy for him. 

Ibrahimovic scored a hat-trick in Sunday's rout, taking him to 26 MLS goals for the season, surpassing Carlos Ruiz as the player with the most league goals in a single season for the Galaxy.

The victory moved Guillermo Barros Schelotto's men up to fifth in the Western Conference, boosting their play-off chances with four matches of the regular season remaining.

Former Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United star Ibrahimovic, however, was typically flippant in his response to bringing up his landmark tally.

"Scoring goals is easy, you just have to be like Zlatan and it's coming," said the 37-year-old, who is two goals behind leading scorer Carlos Vela.

"I try to help the team in the best way and that is by scoring goals. I scored and I have to keep going, I have to help my team in the best way and that is to score goals and make it easier for everybody."

Despite the large margin of victory, the Galaxy did not have it all their own way at Dignity Health Sports Park, where Felipe Gutierrez put Kansas ahead before Ibrahimovic equalised and the hosts ran riot in the second half.

Joe Corona headed the hosts in front after the interval, with Ibrahimovic's second goal of the match setting the club's new record before Uriel Antuna got in on the act.

"It's a great result, it was a good game," said Ibrahimovic.

"The result says something else but the first half was very even, we played against a good team which plays good football. In the second we were stronger and when we got the opportunities we were scoring so that was the difference.

"It's good, we still have four games to go. To win, to get the confidence, even to score many goals for the goal difference. Everyone did a good job, even if we were a little bit tired in the end, but we did a good job."

Hat-trick hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic made history for LA Galaxy, while DC United boosted their play-off chances in MLS on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic set a single-season scoring record for Galaxy by moving onto 26 goals, netting a hat-trick in a 7-2 thrashing of Sporting Kansas City at Dignity Health Sports Park.

Galaxy had fallen behind to a Felipe Gutierrez goal before Ibrahimovic equalised just after the half-hour mark.

The former Manchester United striker had a penalty saved by Tim Melia, only for the rebound to fall kindly for him to tap in.

Joe Corona headed in a Cristian Pavon cross to give Galaxy the lead in the second half before Ibrahimovic broke the club's record with a finish from inside the area.

Sebastian Lletget scored a late brace after an Uriel Antuna goal before Ibrahimovic completed his hat-trick, drilling into the bottom corner after an Efrain Alvarez pass.

Gutierrez scored a late consolation goal for Sporting as Galaxy climbed into fifth in the Western Conference.

A first-half own goal from Bill Tuiloma was enough for DC United to overcome the Portland Timbers 1-0.

It marked a second straight league win for DC, who are fifth in the Eastern Conference and eight points clear of eighth-placed Montreal Impact.

Toronto are fourth and also closing in on the play-offs after recording a 3-2 win at home to Colorado Rapids.

Jonathan Osorio scored the match-winner for Toronto in the 70th minute.

Darwin Quintero's brace helped Minnesota United to a 3-1 victory over Real Salt Lake and Nicolas Lodeiro's double saw Seattle Sounders beat New York Red Bulls 4-2.

LA Galaxy suffered a late 2-1 loss to Colorado Rapids as the MLS play-off chasing outfit's winless streak continued.

Nicolas Mezquida converted an 85th-minute penalty to condemn Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Galaxy to their fourth consecutive league match without victory.

It was a wild finish in Colorado, where all three goals were scored in the final 11 minutes at Dick's Sporting Goods Park on Wednesday.

The Rapids broke the deadlock via Cole Bassett, whose glancing header put the home side ahead in the 79th minute.

Colorado's lead was short lived, however, after Giancarlo Gonzalez's header restored parity three minutes later.

But the Rapids had the last say as Mezquida scored from the penalty spot following a foul on Andre Shinyashiki with five minutes remaining.

There was late drama when Galaxy's Cristian Pavon was shown a straight red card deep into second-half stoppage time after trying to win the ball near the corner flag, however, VAR and the referee reversed the decision to yellow.

The result left the Galaxy eighth in the Western Conference, a point adrift of the seventh and final play-off spot occupied by Dallas, while the Rapids are 10th and six points further back.

Real Salt Lake moved up to second in the west and level on points with third-placed Seattle Sounders thanks to a 1-0 victory over San Jose Earthquakes.

Eastern Conference leaders New York City – three points clear atop the table – played out a 1-1 draw at home to Toronto as they extended their unbeaten run to six games.

Meanwhile, Houston Dynamo snapped a seven-game winless streak in the league by defeating Minnesota United 2-0.

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