Major League Soccer is back this weekend and on Sunday a mouthwatering clash will see one of the league's household names in Los Angeles Galaxy travel to newly-formed Inter Miami for their opening game of the 2021 season.
Both sides have huge expectations to live up to heading into this campaign and will be hoping to get off to the perfect start with a victory at the DRV PNK Stadium.
In the build up to this intriguing fixture, Inter Miami owner David Beckham has stated how he has waited 10 years for this moment to finally arrive, watching the club he helped create play against the team that brought him to the United States.
Rooting against LA Galaxy will be new for Beckham, having made over 120 appearances and winning two MLS Cups during a hugely successful five-year spell with the club, but now he will be cheering on the Herons as they prepare for their second season in the MLS.
Inter Miami's inaugural campaign in 2020 was disappointing, after losing all three group stage matches in the MLS is Back tournament before finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference.
Since then, the Herons have been busy recruiting on and off the field ahead of the new campaign. In January, ex-England Women's head coach and Beckham's former Manchester United teammate Phil Neville was appointed as manager, while a plethora of signings have been made to bolster the squad, including English pair Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Gibbs.
A vibrant city teaming up with one of world football's most recognisable faces is hoping to take the league by storm and even though victory on Sunday would be a bitter sweet moment for Beckham, it would be the perfect way to open their account in 2021.
LA Galaxy, one of the 10 founding members of the MLS, begin their 26th season this weekend and will be aiming to improve greatly on what was a frustrating 2020 campaign.
After winning just six of their 22 league matches, the Galaxy finished outside the Western Conference playoffs in 10th and slumped to 20th in the overall MLS table.
Guillermo Barros Schelotto's side were well short of being the best MLS team, which they aspire to be, and as a result the Argentine coach was sacked with former Galaxy defender Greg Vanney taking the reins ahead of this season.
Vanney has a huge task ahead of him in returning one of Major League Soccer's perennial powerhouses to the great heights expected. The former Toronto FC manager lead the Canadians to a domestic treble in 2017 and two other MLS Cup final appearances.
The loss of last season's Player of the Year and top goalscorer Cristian Pavon – who has returned to his parent club Boca Juniors after a short loan spell – is a blow for LA Galaxy, but if Vanney can get Javier Hernandez firing up front then finding the net should not be a problem this campaign.
Chicharito failed to fill the void left by Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season, scoring just twice in 12 MLS appearances.
The five-time MLS Cup winners have not lifted a trophy since 2014 and with several other clubs around them recruiting well during the off-season, a strong start in 2021 is crucial if they wish become the top team in American soccer.
Inter Miami have added strong options to their backline during the off-season, with Shawcross and Kelvin Leerdam both set to start on Sunday.
Left-back Gibbs will join up with the Herons when his contract at West Bromwich Albion expires in June.
Defensive midfielder Gregore, who joined from Brazilian side Bahia this year, is set to partner Matuidi in the middle of the pitch, with an attacking midfield trio of Lewis Morgan, Pizzaro and Matias Pellegrini to line up just in front.
Argentinian forward Higuain is likely to start on his own in attack; a strike against New York Red Bulls back in October 2020 is his only goal in nine appearances since he joined the club in September.
Highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder Efrain Alvarez could also make the first XI, after impressing during the latter stages of 2020.
Chicharito is set to lead the line as captain this campaign and will be hoping he can find the clinical edge which was lacking last season.
Inter Miami possible starting lineup:
McCarthy; Leerdam, Shawcross, Pirez, Jones; Matuidi, Gregore; Morgan, Pizzaro, Pellegrini; Higuain
Los Angeles Galaxy possible starting lineup:
Bond; Araujo, Steres, Williams, Villafana; Dos Santos, Lletget; Alvarez, Vazquez, Grandsir; Hernandez
We say: Inter Miami 2-1 Los Angeles Galaxy
Inter Miami and LA Galaxy have huge expectations to live up to ahead of the 2021 season, and both will be keen to brush aside disappointing campaigns last year.
Impressive recruitment during the off-season has made the hosts stronger, and we feel they have enough quality to claim a slender victory on Sunday in Florida.