It was just about the perfect start to Major League Soccer (MLS) in Tucson. With David Beckham signing pre-game autographs, followed by a high-scoring match- what else could you ask for?
The Los Angeles Galaxy kicked off the tournament against the New England Revolution. Shortly after, in the third minute, Benny Feilhaber of New England scored the first goal. It was arguably the best of the match as Feilhaber launched a very difficult bicycle kick past Josh Saunders of the Galaxy.
The first half of this match surely did not lack excitement as there were a total of four goals. It was like a match of tug-of-war, one team pulled ahead, and a few minutes later, the other team tied it up.
The Galaxy scored their first goal of the match in the 31st minute when Edson Buddle was able to get his head around a corner kick from David Beckham. In case you blinked and missed that goal, another one came only five minutes later by John Lozano of the Revolution. Naturally, a defender, Lozano was able to get his head in just the right place at the right time, putting the ball in the back of the net for a 2-1 lead.
Just when you thought you saw enough goals for at least the first half, Mike Magee of the Galaxy scored in the thirty-ninth minute. This one had a little more power and luck behind it. Magee launched this shot from just outside the 18-yard box and it looked like it had a better chance of knocking someone down then going in the goal. Sure enough, after multiple deflections by a few players, the ball found its way into the goal to tie the game 2-2 at half time.
There were plenty of close calls throughout the first forty-five minutes of the game. The Galaxy had shots hit the post and fly just above the post on multiple occasions. The Revolution had just the same problem with multiple headers just missing or corner kicks floating a little bit out of reach. All in all, it was an action-packed first half.
The second half was slightly disappointing by comparison. The Galaxy put a lot of pressure on the Revolution with attack after attack. In the end, the aggressive play by the Revolution proved victorious.
The winning goal came in the seventy-forth minute by Jeremiah White of the New England Revolution who rolled one in from about 10 yards out to finish the match with a final score of 3-2.
The first week of the Desert Diamond Cup proved successful with just over 14,000 fans. I predict even more fans each night, including a near sell out on the last day, March 3rd. The MLS has been an instant hit here in Tucson and will continue to be one for as long as it’s here.