Ibrahimovic was held without a goal for the second consecutive game as Los Angeles' losing streak reached three games, and his frustration seemed to rise to the surface in the 87th minute when he grabbed Johnson on the side of the neck after his near goal. The players tumbled to the ground with both earning yellow cards.
Ibrahimovic's incident came a day after he was fined an undisclosed amount for diving in Wednesday's loss to the Columbus Crew.The Swedish striker also made news last week for alleged verbal threats and a post-match confrontation with Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha.
Saturday's match was the first time the Galaxy (7-4-1, 22 points) has lost at home this season in seven games.
NYCFC's goals came on when Heber struck first in the 44th minute, for his third on the season. Maximiliano Moralez added a score from the penalty spot six minutes into first-half stoppage time. It is the first time in team history NYCFC (4-1-6, 18 points) has won three consecutive road games.
Midfielder Anton Tinnerholm fired a left-footed shot that was turned away on a diving save by Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham. Hebert jumped on the rebound and fired his own left-footed shot into the net.
Tinnerholm was at it again a few minutes later, earning a shot from the penalty kick when his cross into the penalty area rebounded off the raised arm of Uriel Antuna for a hand ball. Moralez delivered to the bottom left corner of the goal past a diving Bingham for his second tally of the season.
- Carlisle: Does MLS have a double-standard problem with Zlatan?
The Galaxy had multiple scoring chances in the 86th minute when Ibrahimovic and Chris Pontius both hit the crossbar.
The Galaxy's much-improved defense has been exposed of late. After giving up a combined eight goals in the first nine matches of the season, Los Angeles has allowed eight during its three-game skid.
The Galaxy was without offensive playmaker Jonathan Dos Santos, sidelined with a left hamstring injury that occurred during Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew. Also out for a third consecutive game was right back Julian Araujo (ankle).
NYCFC's turnaround continues with win at Galaxy
NYCFC extended their unbeaten run to seven matches with a win at LA Galaxy, but the match ended in controversy involving Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Should Zlatan have seen red for this incident?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sean Johnson both received yellow cards after this incident late in the match between LA Galaxy and NYCFC.
Moralez ends penalty woes, doubles NYCFC's lead
Major League Soccer: Maximiliano Moralez (45'+6) LA Galaxy 0-2 New York City FC
Heber cleans up a rebound to put NYCFC in front
Major League Soccer: Heber (44') LA Galaxy 0-1 New York City FC