Ibrahimovic delivers winner, and some trash talk, in Galaxy's latest triumph

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Katharine Lotze
The Swedish star scored his latest goal to help his club to another victory, while also getting caught up in a war of words with an opponent

Zlatan Ibrahimovic plays his best when he is angry, and on Sunday night he took it upon himsef to stir up a war of words with Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha.

The ploy appeared to work because Ibrahimovic delivered the game-winning goal, a 78th-minute finish, and promptly directed some words at Onuoha before celebrating with teammates.

Ibrahimovic downplayed the exchange after the Galaxy's 2-1 victory, but his explanation of events didn't mesh with Onuoha's recollection, which included an Ibrahimovic visit to the Real Salt Lake locker room.

"What happens on the field stays on the field," Ibrahimovic told reporters on Sunday. "I like to feel alive. I like when it becomes duels and that because sometimes, not that I fall asleep, but I don’t feel alive if they don’t activate me. They need to activate me or else it becomes too easy.

"I know me. When I get angry I feel good."

Ibrahimovic's impromptu visit to the visiting locker room led to another tense exchange between the Swedish star and Onuoha, who claimed afterwards that Ibrahimovic had attempted to apologize for his behavior.

"He came into apologize after the game because from 60 minutes in he’s saying he’s going to do me, he’s going to hurt me for that game," Onuoha told reporters. "This is a guy who is the face of MLS, as he calls himself, but this is the way that he plays on the field? So I don’t care. If someone comes in and says that to me, I don’t care. I’m not going to accept his apology. It’s unacceptable."

Ibrahimovic said nothing about an apology when asked about visiting RSL's locker room, though an apology for simply trash talking an opponent doesn't sound like something the brash and outspoken Ibrahimovic would do, particularly when he made it clear he engaged in his war of words with Onuoha to get himself going.

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"I went to shake the hands. No big deal," Ibrahimovic said.

Sunday's victory extended the Galaxy's undefeated record to six matches, while the goal gives Ibrahimovic eight this season, second only to Carlos Vela's 11 goals. The Galaxy moved to within a point of first-place Los Angeles FC after LAFC settled for a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders earlier on Sunday.

Ibrahimovic and the Galaxy travel East to take on the New York Red Bulls on Saturday.

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