David Beckham’s Inter Miami slipped to defeat in their first MLS match with a 1-0 loss at Los Angeles FC.
Miami, competing in the Eastern Conference, signed the Scotland forward Lewis Morgan from Celtic in January but the majority of their squad is made up of players who have plied their trade in America.
Beckham’s side, managed by two-time Concacaf Champions League winner Diego Alonso, showed flashes of promise on their first outing against a strong LAFC team.
LAFC played their first MLS game in March 2018 but have reached the play-offs in each of their first two seasons in the league. And the hosts, managed by the former long-serving USA head coach Bob Bradley, looked to assert their dominance in the opening stages at the Banc of California Stadium.
The former Arsenal and Real Sociedad forward Carlos Vela crossed to Diego Rossi after five minutes but his header across goal was acrobatically saved by the goalkeeper Luis Robles, who joined Inter after making 238 appearances for New York Red Bulls.
LAFC had the ball in the net four minutes later only for Mark-Anthony Kaye’s goal to be ruled out for offside against Rossi. Miami began to grow into the contest and forced the former Netherlands international Kenneth Vermeer into a smart save after 37 minutes, diving to his left to deny Matias Pellegrini.
But Vela, on his 31st birthday, produced a piece of individual brilliance to give LAFC the lead on the stroke of half-time, dancing his way to the edge of the area before executing a sublime chip over Robles.
The hosts thought they had doubled the lead 30 seconds into the second half but Rossi was denied by the offside flag once again. The Mexico international Rodolfo Pizarro then came within inches of scoring Miami’s historic first goal in MLS, but his prodded effort fell just the wrong side of the post.