David Beckham’s Inter Miami taste defeat in first ever MLS game as former Arsenal man Carlos Vela scores stunning chip to spoil opening party
- Inter Miami played their first competitive game against LAFC in MLS on Sunday
- Carlos Vela’s brilliant chip just before half-time gave Los Angeles FC victory
- David Beckham will have been encouraged by the performance of his team
- Inter Miami had chances to equalise but lacked cutting edge in the final third
There was no opening day Major League Soccer miracle for David Beckham yet the former England captain wouldn’t have been disheartened.
Beckham’s new Inter Miami side finally took to the field after six long years of uncertainty and although the Manchester United legend, sat in the stands here with wife Victoria, failed to witness a dream denouement, he would have left the excellent, raucous Banc of America stadium enthused.
A moment of pure class from former Arsenal striker Carlos Vela settled matters, the Mexican international wonderfully chipping the ball over Miami keeper Luis Robles for the only goal of a lively game.
David Beckham was suited and booted for Inter Miami’s first ever MLS game on Sunday
Beckham watched on from stands alongside wife Victoria, 45, as his team made their bow
Gordon Ramsay was seen chatting to Beckham as he showed his support ahead of game
Carlos Vela’s stunning chip on 44 minutes saw Inter Miami fall to a narrow 1-0 defeat
Yet on another day, and with perhaps a few more miles in the team’s legs and a touch more ruthlessness, Inter Miami could have grabbed a draw to put the seal on an impressive start to their MLS adventure.
Argentine winger Matias Pellegrini, star signing Rodolfo Pizarro and American striker Robbie Robinson all went close but not close enough for Beckham’s team who now travel to DC United next weekend before a grand home opener at their new look Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale against LA’s other team, the Galaxy.
The Banc of California Stadium is just what the 300 hardy souls who made the 4,000 mile round trip from Miami want in their own backyard – a noisy, atmospheric, downtown location to be proud of.
This, however, was finally the day to forget about all the logistical problems and concentrate on what really matters most right now – winning games of football.
Potential new stadium sites can wait. The only question was how Beckham’s new team – pieced together over the last few months and trained by a manager who was only appointed at the backend of last year – would fare first time out.
Beckham, all suited and booted, took his place in the stands and gazed out with a beaming smile on his face. The former England captain has long dreamed about this very moment.
The place was pumping with the vibrant home fans impressively ramping up the atmosphere.
Miami fans were being drowned out but clips on social media of them singing in Los Angeles bars and greeting the team after training was proof, if anyone needed it, that soccer fever is alive and well in South Florida.
Miami’s designated player, Matias Pellegrini saw a close range effort blocked on 19 minutes
Their mood looked to have been soured on four minutes only for captain Luis Robles to come to the rescue and pull off a brilliant save to keep out Diego Rossi’s close range header.
LAFC, led by talisman Vela, were dominating possession and looking dangerous. They had a goal disallowed on eight minutes for off-side, but surely it would only be a matter of time before Robles was beaten once again.
New $12 million signing, and great hope, Pizarro was struggling to get a foothold in the game while fellow Designated Player Pellegrini was also quiet early on. Defensively, Alonso’s men looked rather shaky too.
Pellegrini, just 19, finally sprung into action on 19 minutes when a close range effort was blocked as Beckham’s side began to look threatening. Pizarro began to weave some magic, too.
Robbie Robinson went close with a second half effort but failed to make clean contact with ball
Los Angeles FC kick started their season with three points at home against the new boys
Uruguayan Brian Rodriguez was causing the Miami backline plenty of problems yet as the clock ticked around to 30 minutes, the visitors were just about holding firm. They certainly had their moments though – Pellegrini was denied by LAFC keeper Kenneth Vermeer at the culmination of a rare foray forward before also keeping out Pizarro as the visitors began to look far more assured.
They were indeed key saves because on the stroke of half-time it was that man Vela who opened the scoring with a classy run and chip from the edge of the box over a despairing Robles.
It was tough on Miami who had battled hard only to be outdone by a moment of genius from the Mexican international. They weren’t disheartened, though, and Becks’ boys almost drew level five minutes after the restart when striker Robinson , 21, just failed to get a strong enough contact on the ball to beat Vermeer before Pizarro suffered a similar fate.
So defeat it was, albeit a slim one. Beckham, however, would have liked what he saw.
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