By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
The Los Angeles Football Club kicked off their 2020 MLS regular season campaign with a 1-0 win over expansion side Inter Miami CF on Sunday afternoon.
Just days after advancing to the 2020 Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals, the Black-and-Gold returned to the heart of the Los Angeles to prove the Banc is still a fortress in front of an energetic fanbase.
Four players made their MLS debuts for the Black and Gold. Goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer registered his first shutout of the year, midfielder Francisco Ginella played the first 76 minutes of the game, while two others, José Cifuentes and Bryce Duke, came off the bench late in the match.
Similar to Thursday night, Carlos Vela connected with Diego Rossi inside the box in the 5th minute. But as the script goes, Luis Robles’ diving save prevented LAFC’s early lead from setting the tone for the match.
The Mexican captain celebrated his 31st birthday by picking up right where he left off last season — scoring a cheeky chip first in the 44th minute.
The reigning MVP and Golden Boot winner got the ball in the attacking third and dismantled Miami’s defense to send the game winner — and Robles — into the back of the net.
Both sides were fairly evenly matched for the duration of the second half, exchanging chances on goal. LAFC dominated 60.6% possession and faced a pair of offsides calls with a total of 21 shots. A battle of the keepers ensued as Vermeer made seven saves compared to Robles’ eight for the visitors.
Prior to LAFC’s home opener, Inter Miami was a relatively unknown entity. Sunday’s match provided a valuable look at David Beckham’s new project, as the Black-and-Gold tested their strengths and weaknesses. The prowess of Inter Miami’s defense and their physicality (64 duels won and 18 tackles won) will likely prove to be a continuing challenge for teams over the course of the season.
The Black-and-Gold return to action this Sunday, March 8, against the Philadelphia Union.
Featured Image: @LAFC
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