The Rose Bowl will once again host professional soccer–at least for a day–when LA Galaxy and LAFC square off at the venerable venue on Feb. 26 for a historic 2023 MLS Rose Bowl match.
We will be seeing a lot of historic reminders at the Rose Bowl in 2023: the venue was built in 1922 and hosted its first Rose Bowl (the ninth overall) on Jan. 1, 1923, with USC defeating Penn State, 14-3. Since then the Rose Bowl has been a major venue in the history of college football, but also an important venue in the history of other sports and endeavors.
Such as MLS. The Rose Bowl was first home of the Galaxy when MLS launched in 1996, a time when MLS was structured to play in NFL and college-football stadiums. The largest Galaxy MLS crowd was recorded there in 1996–69,255 fans showed up on April 13 for the team’s debut–while friendlies and Champions Cup involving the Galaxy represent the four largest crowds involving MLS teams, including a 2015 Champions Cup match with Barcelona drawing 93,226.
So it’s entirely fitting that LA Galaxy play a 2023 MLS Rose Bowl match during a historic year for the venue. The LA Galaxy availability came as MLS debuted an unbalanced schedule for 2023 thanks to the addition of a St. Louis team, with three LA Galaxy/LAFC match on the schedule. With two set for the Galaxy, team management decided to drop one Dignity Health Sports Park match and add the 2023 MLS Rose Bowl match, which will certainly kick off the season with a splash. From the Los Angeles Times:
“We’ve been thinking about this for a while. And even thinking about it in conjunction with LAFC,” Galaxy president Chris Klein said. “This game has taken on such a special meaning to the city, to our fans and to, really, soccer in this country.”…
“It’s taking us back to our home and where we first started and driving what, we think, can be, a spectacular event for soccer in Los Angeles,” Klein said of the Rose Bowl.
“The joint goal is to fill up the place,” added LAFC co-president Larry Freedman, who credited Klein with coming up with the idea for the Rose Bowl game.
There are plenty of details to be worked out, with tickets to be split between the two teams (Galaxy receiving more, of course).
Image courtesy Rose Bowl Stadium.