Manager Diego Alonso and Inter Miami battle D.C. United at 3:30 p.m. EST Saturday at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Photo by Francisco Guasco/EPA-EFE
March 2 (UPI) -- Reigning Major League Soccer MVP Carlos Vela scored a world-class goal to lead LAFC to a win Sunday, beating Inter Miami in their first game in franchise history.
Vela's score came in the 44th minute Sunday at Banc of Californian Stadium to defeat Inter Miami 1-0.
"I thanked [my team] for the effort because I think they played their hearts out," Inter Miami manager Diego Alonso told reporters. "I think if we keep playing with this intensity we are going to do great things in MLS."
LAFC dominated possession, holding the ball for 61 percent of the game. LAFC also outshot Inter Miami 21 to 15 and had nine shots on target, compared to Inter Miami's seven shots on frame.
Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles played a sensational first half, denying several LAFC shots with acrobatic saves. Vela broke the deadlock just before the halftime whistle.
The LAFC striker broke loose in front of the Inter Miami box during the score sequence, dribbling and jumping around several defenders before reaching the edge of the box. He looked up at Robles before using his left boot to smack an 18-yard shot toward the middle of the net. The ball floated high above the defense, forcing Robles to sprint back toward the net. The ball then dropped behind a jumping Robles and into the goal.
"LAFC is one of the best teams in MLS," Inter Miami star Rodolfo Pizarro said. "We played a good game and did not but will continue working."
LAFC next hosts the Philadelphia Union at 10:30 p.m. EST Sunday in Los Angeles and Inter Miami battles D.C. United at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
"It was a really good team win and an amazing goal," LAFC manager Bob Bradley said. "Not our best [game] but winning in that way is important for us."