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Efrain Alvarez, 16, helps rally LA Galaxy to win in MLS debut

Following his superb debut MLS appearance from the subs bench, Efrain Alvarez was given high praise by his captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Major League Soccer: Daniel Steres (68') LA Galaxy 1-1 Chicago Fire
Major League Soccer: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (80') LA Galaxy 2-1 Chicago Fire

The LA Galaxy gave highly touted prospect Efrain Alvarez his MLS debut in Saturday's 2-1 season opening win against the Chicago Fire -- and the 16-year-old made an immediate impact.

Eight minutes after coming on against the Fire, Alvarez dribbled into the box, put on an impressive turn to create space away from a defender and lofted a well-weighted cross for Daniel Steres to head home.

The 68th-minute goal brought the Galaxy back to level terms, but Alvarez wasn't done.

- LA Galaxy unveil statue of David Beckham

Twelve minutes later, Alvarez received a throw-in and laid the ball off to Chris Pontius, whose shot rattled the crossbar. The ball then fell for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to lash home the winning goal as LA claimed a 2-1 victory to begin the season.

Alvarez, who also picked up a yellow card in the 84th minute for tugging on an opponent's shirt on Saturday night, turned heads last year while playing for LA Galaxy II in the second-tier USL, where he scored 12 goals in just 17 appearances.

He doesn't turn 17 until June 19.

Alvarez is the 18th player aged 16 or younger to make an appearance in an MLS game. Four 16-year-olds -- Gianluca Busio, George Bello, Gilbert Fuentes and Simon Colyn -- made their debuts last year.

Born in Los Angeles to Mexican parents, Alvarez played for United States youth national teams but later chose to represent Mexico and played for its under-17 team last May, when he was still 15.

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