la galaxy unveil statue of david beckham at mls opener

LA Galaxy unveil statue of David Beckham at MLS opener


Major League Soccer’s past, present and future all converged at on Saturday night. One of the most prominent events of the opening day of the league’s 24th season was the LA Galaxy unveiling a statue of David Beckham before their 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire. Beckham played six seasons with the Galaxy and led them to two championships.

Beckham‘s signing gave higher prominence to the league internationally as more high-profile players arrived and fan interest increased. “No doubt our league wouldn’t be what it is today if David didn’t make that decision,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said during a pregame ceremony. “At that time we were a fledgling business and trying to figure out if soccer would make it in America. His signing told the world that Major League Soccer could be the league of choice.”

LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy)

One of the most influential players in #LAGalaxy and @MLS history. | #BeckhamStatue

March 2, 2019

Beckham said that he felt a little sheepish to be the subject of the first statue in the Galaxy’s “Legends Plaza”, which is located outside the stadium’s main entrance. Former coach Bruce Arena, Landon Donovan and Cobi Jones have had success both in MLS and with the US national team. Arena spoke during the ceremony and Jones was among the former players who were in the crowd. “In this era of analytics I am sure David‘s numbers would not stand out,” Arena said. “But when he scored goals, he scored decisive goals. He was simply a great leader and winner.”

Beckham will have a chance to see his statue in the future as he is one of the owners of Inter Miami, who will begin play in MLS next year. “My commitment to his league and country was always a lot more than on the field,” Beckham said. “I wanted to grow the game and play a small part in growing this league and making it bigger. I think we have been successful but there still is a long way to go but I think we are very happy with the growth over the past 10 years.”

Beckham saw another former Manchester United star make an impact in the Galaxy’s 2-1 victory. Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored from a header in the 80th minute for the winning goal. Galaxy’s opening goal came after an assist from 16-year old midfielder Efrain Alvarez, who came on in the 60th minute in his MLS debut.

Elsewhere, 10-man Colorado Rapids drew with the Portland Timbers 3-3 on Saturday night in the coldest match in MLS history. With a temperature of 18F (-8C) at kickoff and a field covered by snow as the game progressed, Saturday’s season opener surpassed the previous mark of 19F (-7C) set during Minnesota United’s league debut in March 2017.

The league’s newest team, FC Cincinnati, had an unhappy first-ever game in the league as they lost to the Seattle Sounders 4-1. Playing his first MLS match since September 2017, Jordan Morris scored a pair of first-half goals for the Sounders.