Saturday is opening day for the 2020 Major League Soccer season and one of the biggest storylines of the upcoming season is the addition of two new expansion teams, including one headed by soccer legend David Beckham.
Beckham signed with the MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007, giving the then struggling league a huge boost. For his part, Beckham ended up earning $50 million over five years with the club, made another $200 in endorsements, and was granted the right to become the owner of a future expansion team for $25 million. The future is now, as Inter Miami will make their debut Sunday against the LAFC (5:30pm ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes). Inter Miami’s offensive attack will feature Rodolfo Pizarro, who at 26 had been one of Mexico’s rising stars.
It’s a rather rude welcoming for the MLS’ newest franchise, as LAFC are the odds-on favorite to win the MLS Cup. Now entering their third year, the franchise is coming off a season in which they set league records for points and point differential before being upset in the playoffs by the eventual champs, the Seattle Sounders.
For the Sounders, it was their second title in four years. They’ll open their title defense by facing the Chicago Fire, who have recently embarked on a massive restructuring after finishing 10-12-12 and missing the playoffs. They also lost Nemanja Nikolić, who scored 51 goals in three seasons with the team, and replaced him with Robert Berić, formerly of Saint-Étienne.
Nashville SC, formerly of the USL, will also be making their MLS debut this weekend, against Atlanta United. Nashville finished with the third most points and second best goal differential in the USL, but lost 0-1 to Indy Eleven in the conference semis. Atlanta was third in both points and goal differential in the MLS last year, but lost 1-2 to Toronto in the conference finals.
Saturday, February 29
Nashville SC vs. Atlanta United
8pm ET on FOX and FOX Deportes
Sunday, March 1
Seattle Sounders vs. Chicago Fire
3pm ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes
LAFC vs. Inter Miami
5:30pm ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes
Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United FC
7:30pm ET on FOX and FOX Deportes