The 2020 season was not a fun one for the Los Angeles Galaxy and their new superstar Chicharito. The highest-paid player in the league battled injury and a scoring drought while the Galaxy fell flat in the MLS is Back Tournament and then missed the MLS Cup playoffs.
The 2021 season got off to a great start though on Saturday night as Chicharito scored twice and lifted the Galaxy to a comeback 3-2 win over David Beckham's Inter Miami FC. The win spoiled the debut for new Miami manager Phil Neville, the former England Women's National Team coach.
Neville was an assistant coach at Manchester United under David Moyes when Chicharito was scoring goals at Old Trafford. Saturday night, the Galaxy star twice evened the match before Sacha Kljestan netted the game-winner in the 81st minute.
Miami scored first before Chicharito leveled in the 60th minute. A penalty kick from Gonzalo Higuain restored Miami's lead, but again the former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker got the Galaxy even.
The Galaxy head back across the country for their home debut against New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, Neville is still looking for his first MLS win as Miami heads to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Miami found guilty of signing violation
Speaking of Beckham and Inter Miami, MLS declared this week that the owner and his team violated the league's designated player (DP) limit and played with an illegal roster last season.
Each team is allowed to have just three designated players, but Miami played with four after signing French star Blaise Matuidi from Juventus in August. At the time, the team said they used allocated money for Matuidi, but a league investigation found the player received $1.6million dollars and should have been slotted as a DP and not a TAM.
Before the season started Friday, the team bought out the contract of Argentine youngest Matias Pellgrinini, one of their DP's. The league plans on punishing Inter Miami in the near future with either fines or sanctions.
Crew and Union draw a blank
The top two favorites to win the Eastern Conference faced each other in the opener Sunday in Columbus, Ohio. The Crew were unveiled as defending champions in front of a limited crowd as they played host to last year's Supporters' Shield winners from Philadelphia.
Columbus thought they had a chance to go ahead in the first half, but VAR took away their penalty. Two-time MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Andre Blake made a couple of big saves for the Union, and the crossbar also denied Lucas Zelarayan the opening goal for the Crew.
Both teams have already qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals and did so with four-goal games against Central American competition. However, neither team could break through Sunday, and the two East titans split the points.
Columbus won't have another MLS game until May as they play Liga MX side Monterrey in the CCL quarter-finals on April 28.