EDITOR'S NOTE: Every day at 8 pm ET, full-match replays of MLS Classics will be released in their entirety on YouTube, Facebook, MLSsoccer.com, and the official MLS app (check out the full schedule). Among the MLS Classics: David Beckham's first MLS start for the LA Galaxy in a match against the New York Red Bulls that turned into one for the ages.
Any shortlist of the greatest regular season MLS matches of all time would have to include it.
The LA Galaxy's August 18, 2007 matchup with the New York Red Bulls at Giants Stadium was already hyped up for a lot reasons -- chief among them being that it was set to be the first MLS start for the biggest name that had ever joined the league to that point in David Beckham.
But the bout with the Red Bulls provided star power on both sides, with New York featuring Colombian striker Juan Pablo Angel and then-teenage sensation Jozy Altidore, suiting up for a team managed by the legendary Bruce Arena.
It was all lining up to be a memorable occasion, and once the match kicked off in front of 66,237 fans, it did not disappoint.
A full-on free-for-all
By the time it was all said and done, the teams had combined for nine goals, three players had braces, Beckham had two assists and all the stars delivered on a day when the action lived up to the hype.
It was a frantic, back-and-forth affair for virtually the full 90 minutes. Angel put the Red Bulls on top shortly after kickoff, and then the Galaxy overturned the scoreline on a pair of Beckham patented pinpoint bending free kicks to Carlos Pavon. That all happened before 10 minutes had elapsed.
“Every ball he touched was a piece of magic,” Angel said after the match.
Clint Mathis and Jozy Altidore put the Red Bulls back on top 3-2, only for American soccer icon Landon Donovan to equalize 3-3. The teams exchanged another pair of goals after that ... 4-4!
But Angel made sure it would not end on level terms, cashing home a close-range finish before the final whistle to give the Red Bulls the heart-pounding 5-4 victory. Despite finishing on the losing end, Beckham recognized the magnitude of the moment.
“It makes you feel great. It makes you feel honored,” Beckham told media after the match in regards to the largest soccer crowd at Giants Stadium since 1980. “And hopefully, it continues, because this is what this league needs. This is what this sport needs in America.”
"I'm never going to forget a game like this"
Anyone who was among the 66,237 in attendance at the Meadowlands on the day or witnessed the match on TV didn't forget it either, as this match is regularly referenced as a seminal moment in the league's history, given the entertainment value and star power that was on the field.
"I'm never going to forget a game like this," Altidore said afterwards.
The summary of the action doesn't even do justice to the level of intensity this match featured from start to finish, which is part of why it's worth going back and watching the whole thing as we run through our list of the league's classic matches.