- Steven Gerrard scored, set up another goal and won a penalty as the LA Galaxy beat San Jose Earthquakes 5-2
- Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as Galaxy fought back from two goals down early on
- Quincy Amarikwa scored twice in three minutes to put the visitors in command at the StubHub Center
- Gerrard sparked the comeback when he won a penalty after being elbowed in the face by Tommy Thompson
- Former Liverpool captain then scored a goal of his own to make it 2-2 eight minutes before half-time
- Galaxy then took control, with Keane scoring twice more and Sebastian Lletget rounding off the win late on
Sami Mokbel In Los Angeles
00:44 EST, 18 July 2015
01:17 EST, 18 July 2015
You’re 2-0 down inside 25 minutes; what do you do? Give the ball to Steven Gerrard.
That was Liverpool’s default answer for nearly 20 years. It seems it’s the same for the LA Galaxy.
Even here in Hollywood, you’d struggle to find a script more far-fetched than this.
Steven Gerrard, making his Major League Soccer debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy, celebrates his goal to bring them level at 2-2
The 35-year-old produced an all-action performance as LA fought back from two goals down to beat San Jose 5-2
Gerrard and Robbie Keane celebrate as the Los Angeles Galaxy hauled themselves back from two goals down to stun San Jose
Los Angeles Galaxy: Rowe; DeLaGarza, Gargan, Leonardo, Rogers; Husidic, Juninho, Walker (Maganto 82), Lletget, Gerrard (Buddle 88); Keane
Substitutes not used: Wolverton (GK); Dunivant, Meyer, Garcia, Mendiola
Scorers: Keane 30 (pen), 64, 80 (pen); Gerrard 37; Lletget 90+2
San Jose Earthquakes: Bingham; Wynne, Bernardes, Goodson, Stewart; Alashe; Nyassi (Barrera 62), Perez Garcia, Thompson (Jahn 80), Salinas (Sherrod 69); Amarikwa
Substitutes not used: Meredith (GK); Renato, Francis, Pierazzi
Scorer: Amarikwa 22, 25
Booked: Thompson, Salinas, Bingham, Stewart
Referee: Alan Kelly
On his MLS debut, the Liverpool legend pulled his new side up by their boot straps after a truly disastrous start.
This was vintage Gerrard. The ‘when we are in a hole, I’ll drag us out’ Gerrard.
Perhaps, this wasn’t the relentless all-action Gerrard that made him one of Europe’s finest in his hey day.
The dynamism and energy has gradually waned with time. But even at 35-years-old – this Gerrard was too much for San Jose Earthquakes.
Diving headers in his own box, winning a penalty, an assist, crunching tackles and a goal.
There was even a dubious challenge that could easily have resulted in a red card thrown into the mix. This performance had everything.
Los Angeles has been gripped by Gerrard fever since his arrival at the end of last month.
Without having played a league game, the 35-year-old is already a terrace hero at the StubHub Centre. God knows how support feel about him now.
Everywhere Gerrard looked, there were reminders of back home.
Hundreds of Liverpool shirts and banners in the crowd, former Liverpool team-mate Robbie Keane alongside him, some sloppy defending from his team-mates and David Beckham in the crowd.
There was even a beach ball on the pitch at one stage, rekindling memories of Darren Bent’s famous goal against Liverpool in 2009.
And after 25 minutes you’d have forgiven Gerrard for wishing he was back on Merseyside.
Despite wearing the No 8 shirt, Gerrard started the night in the No 10 role, just behind Keane, who captains the team.
And the early signs of a successful partnership were promising.
Gerrard already appears to have become a hero at the StubHub Center, despite this being his first league start for the Galaxy
Keane scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as LA recovered from falling two down inside 25 minutes to score five times
Gerrard’s first touch, a flicked header in the second minute, found Keane; his second, an outswinging cross from the right would have presented the Irishman with a clear chance if not for some excellent defending from Victor Bernardez.
San Jose attacker Quincy Amarkiwa threatened to ruin Gerrard’s big day in the 12th minute but showed total incompetence when clear through on goal.
That should have awoken the home side from their early slumber. It didn’t.
Amarkiwa atoned for his earlier miss, cooly slotting home Sanna Nyasi’s low cross in the 22nd minute to silence the home crowd.
Three minutes later the 27-year-old was at it again, stroking home from close range after the Galaxy made a mockery of trying to clear Nyasi’s free-kick.
The horror spell was inidicative of Galaxy’s – and Gerrard’s – early frustrations.
Perhaps he was still getting to grips with his new role, but the former England captain was struggling to make an impact.
He was seeing little of the ball as his new colleagues struggled to find each other – let alone Gerrard.
The former Liverpool captain carries the ball forward from midfield in the same purposeful manner we have enjoyed for so many years
Gerrard celebrates his debut goal with his team-mates as the Galaxy fightback gathers momentum
Robbie Keane makes no mistake from the penalty spot 10 minutes from time as Galaxy go 4-2 ahead
Sebastian Lletget (left) celebrates with team-mate Ignacio Maganto after making absolutely sure of the win with a fifth goal late on
Gerrard’s Californian dream was quickly turning into a nightmare. But, in short, the former England captain simply wasn’t having it.
He won Galaxy’s 30th minute penalty, perhaps fortuitously, when he was elbowed in the face by Tommy Thompson.
Keane stepped up, cooly sending David Bingham the wrong way.
And seven minutes later Gerrard was on the scoresheet neatly curling home from inside the area to level.
Arms outstretched, he sprinted towards his new supporters; they’ll hope it’s a sight they get used to.
It was the Gerrard we’ve been accustomed to for nearly two decades. We’ve seen it all before.
Unfortunately, his tackle on Bernandez just before the break just as his familiar.
San Jose’s Shea Salnas tugs the shirt of Robbie Rogers as the LA player attempts to break clear down the flank
Gerrard cuts a frustrated figure early on as LA make a terrible start and fall two goals behind after just 25 minutes
Keane watches as San Jose Earthquakes goalkeeper David Bingham comes out to collect the ball ahead of him
Gerrard is sent tumbling to the ground under challenge from San Jose’s Fatai Alashe during the first-half
NEXT UP FOR GERRARD
July 21 Barcelona (Rose Bowl)
International Champions Cup
July 25 Houston Dynamo (A) MLS
August 1 Colorado Rapids (A) MLS
The challenge left the Earthquakes defender crumpled on the floor with only one boot.
The visitors were fuming, demanding Gerrard be sent off. The way Gerrard quietly left the scene of the crime suggested they may have had a point.
Sebastian Lletget nearly completed the comeback in the 53rd minute, smashing the underside of the bar from close range after Keane’s cross.
Eleven minutes later, though, the home side were in front and guess who was at the centre of it?
As Gerrard stepped up to take a free kick, San Jose were expecting a high cross into the box.
Instead, they were forced to consider exactly how they had let a two goal lead slip as Gerrard played the ball low into Keane, who did the rest with a clever flick.
Not even Gerrard, even with his glittering list of achievements, could have believed this debut was possible.
But even then he threatened to stretch the realms of reality in the 70th minute when, fully 30 yards out, Gerrard smashed the cross bar with a curling free kick.
Gerrard had the ball in the net again in the 79th minute – but referee Alan Kelly had already awarded the hosts a penalty that Keane scored to complete his hat-trick.
He was substituted in the 87th minute, turning to all four sides of the stadium to acknowledge his rapturous standing ovation before Lletget completed the scoring.
Even in Tinseltown – Steven Gerrard is box office.