Los Angeles - David Beckham's Inter Miami made a
disappointing start in their Major League Soccer debut on Sunday, losing 1-0
against Los Angeles FC.
A superb chip from Mexico international striker Carlos Vela
sealed victory for Los Angeles at the Banc of California Stadium in a game
dominated by the home side.
Inter Miami joined the league this season after a tortuous
journey marked by setbacks since former England, Manchester United and Real
Madrid star Beckham exercised his option to become an owner of his own team in
Co-owner Beckham, who played for the Los Angeles Galaxy in
the closing seasons of his professional career, watched from the stands on
Sunday as Miami slipped to defeat.
Inter co-owners Jorge and Jose Mas and Marcelo Claure were
also on hand, as were several hundred pink-and-black clad Miami fans.
Los Angeles dominated the early exchanges, with Diego Rossi
coming close to opening the scoring after only five minutes when his header
from Vela's cross was parried away by Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles.
LAFC had the ball in the net shortly afterwards when Brian
Rodriguez and Rossi combined to tee-up Mark-Anthony Kaye.
Kaye's low finish beat Robles, but the goal was chalked off
after replays showed Rossi was just offside from Rodriguez's pass in the
Miami's chances, meanwhile, were few and far between, with
Lewis Morgan registering his team's first shot after 29 minutes only for LAFC's
former Ajax goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer to save comfortably.
Vermeer was pressed into action again soon afterwards,
saving smartly from Matias Pellegrini on 37 minutes.
The former Netherlands international goalkeeper then twice
denied Miami in the space of a few seconds, clawing away Rodolfo Pizarro's side-footed
effort on 42 minutes and then blocking Nicolas Figal's follow-up header.
But just as Miami looked to have done enough to kept Los
Angeles at bay for the first half, the home side struck.
Vela, celebrating his 31st birthday, controlled on his
shoulder and darted across the edge of the Miami area before cleverly spotting
Robles off his line and scooping his finish over him and into the net.
"Miami put a lot into it, but we got just an amazing
goal," LAFC coach Bob Bradley said. "Not our best but winning in that
way is important for us.
"When you come to see football and then the game is
determined on a play like that, which was a combination of determination,
strength, still having an idea of how to get away, the positioning of the
goalkeeper - (for Vela) to finish with that delicate chip was just
Los Angeles had another goal disallowed for offside in the
opening minute of the second half.
Miami's best chance of an equaliser fell to Mexico
international Pizarro, who stretched out a foot to meet Morgan's cross early in
the second half only to see the ball roll just wide.