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Rooney, Ibrahimovic leading in-form playoff charges in MLS

Manchester United FC v FC Zorya Luhansk - UEFA Europa League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Manchester United celebrate following their sides 1-0 victory during the UEFA Europa League group A match between Manchester United FC and FC Zorya Luhansk at Old Trafford on September 29, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Teammates at Manchester United two seasons ago, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney are tempting postseason glory on different American coasts.

DC United has control of its Eastern Conference playoff destiny after beating the Montreal Impact on Saturday, while LA Galaxy topped the Vancouver Whitecaps to put a charge into a congested Western Conference race.

[ MORE: Saturday night MLS recap ]

Both players scored braces in their teams’ wins, and both have multiple iconic moments for their new clubs. Zlatan has one of the all-time goals, period. Rooney’s hustle play against Orlando City reverberated across continents.

Skill is more important than swagger, but not by much, and Ibrahimovic has both.

Playing his 24th MLS game, the LA Galaxy man bagged his 19th and 20th goals of the season to boost his side’s postseason hopes.

Giving some credit to interim coach Dominic Kinnear, Ibrahimovic had a warning for the opposition after LA waxed Vancouver 3-0 on Saturday night. From LAGalaxy.com:

“We’re not doing it by luck or complicating. I said it last time we’re a threat for every team if we play like this. I bet you whatever you want, nobody wants to get us in the playoffs because we are dangerous if we do what we do like we do it now.”

...

“Just hope for them we don’t make it to the playoffs,” Ibrahimovic said.


LA’s final three matches are away to Sporting KC, away to Minnesota United, and home to Houston.

Western
TeamGPWDLGFGAGDHomeAwayPTS
FC Dallas3015964938119-5-16-4-554
Sporting KC2915685436189-3-26-3-651
Los Angeles FC3014885846128-6-16-2-750
Portland3113994645110-4-23-5-748
Seattle3014511413298-2-56-3-647
Real Salt Lake30136114949010-4-13-2-1045
Los Angeles3112811605918-4-44-4-744
Vancouver30117124759-126-5-45-2-840
Minnesota30113164558-1310-1-41-2-1236
Houston309813504558-3-51-5-835
Colorado3066183259-275-3-71-3-1124
San Jose3148194766-192-5-82-3-1120

Meanwhile, Rooney now has seven goals and six assists in 15 games with DC United following a 5-0 demolition of Montreal.

The Black-and-Red are rising after spending the first half of the season playing a sparse and road-heavy schedule. Now Rooney and Co. are two points back of sixth with two matches-in-hand on the sixth-seeded Impact.

“The last few weeks we’ve been unlucky not to win the New York game, the win against Atlanta, the draw against New York City away, we’ve been building momentum at the right time,” Rooney said. “We put ourselves in a great position.”

Follow @NicholasMendola