A pair of Sporting Kansas City center backs joined Sports Radio 810 WHB this week as the Western Conference leaders prepare to face Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the LA Galaxy.
Sunday's match will kick off at 8 p.m. CT on FS1 and Sports Radio 810 WHB, pitting an in-form Sporting KC outfit against a Galaxy squad that was rescued by Ibrahimovic's heroics last Saturday. The 36-year-old soccer icon made his debut in the 71st minute of the inaugural "El Trafico" between the Galaxy and LAFC, which produced a thrilling finale that will go down as one of the biggest moments in MLS history. Ibrahimovic scored a stunning equalizer from 45 yards before netting the dramatic winner as the Galaxy became the second team ever to erase a three-goal deficit to win 4-3.
With the national spotlight beaming brightly on Ibrahimovic in the lead-up to Sunday, Sporting KC center backs Matt Besler and Ike Opara will be tasked with silencing the veteran Swede as well as Ola Kamara, who has three goals in two career appearances against Manager Peter Vermes' men.
Opara appeared on The Sporting KC Show with hosts Nate Bukaty and Carter Augustine on Tuesday night, reflecting humorously on his very own bobblehead night — he says the doll strongly resembles Damon Wayans — before looking ahead to Sunday's mouthwatering fixture in Carson, California.
"The Galaxy have a pretty potent attack now, and I think they're going to get better as the year goes on," Opara said. "(Ibrahimovic) has my attention, but really I'm tired of Ola Kamara scoring on us. As much as we want to talk about Zlatan, Ola Kamara has given us trouble in the past as well. You can't overlook the personnel they have on their team, and obviously they just got better with the addition of Zlatan."
Besler echoed Opara's sentiments and remarked that Ibrahimovic's arrival to MLS will help the league continue to gain relevance and grow in popularity on the international stage.
"He's got a very big personality, and I think that's obvious to everyone that knows him," Besler said of Ibrahimovic. "I think it's great for the game. He's an entertainer, and people tune in to hear what he has to say next... I enjoy watching him on and off the field, and I think he's going to be great for our league."
Listen to the entirety of both podcasts below.