CARSON, Calif. — A capacity crowd of 27,000 fans stayed glued to their seats at StubHub Center as Robbie Keane notched a hat trick in the 4-0 Galaxy (8-6-7) victory.
With 14 goals in their last three home games, the LA Galaxy kept it rolling against Toronto FC (7-7-2) despite missing three of their starting eleven due to international duties. Of course the opposition too was missing captain Michael Bradley, forward Jozy Altidore, midfielder Jonathan Osorio and left fullback Ashtone Morgan, but the point remains the same.
The Galaxy took care of business on a 4th of July evening that saw Steven Gerrard greet Los Angeles for the first time.
Liverpool legend Gerrard was introduced at halftime, supporting the Galaxy as they climbed within a point of the Western Conference lead, behind Seattle and Vancouver. The midfielder will be eligible for LA when the summer transfer window opens Wednesday.
What does it all mean for the team and fans? The long await is about to be over – Gerrard is expected to make his debut in the International Champions Cup friendly against Mexico’s Club America on July 11.
“My family and I are very excited to be here,” said Gerrard, who signed a contract with the Galaxy in January. “I can’t wait to get the boots on and play in front of you guys.”
The Galaxy have now won 10 straight games against Toronto. Keane got the action going early Saturday with a penalty in the ninth minute. His second goal came just before halftime, finishing off a beautiful sequence with a tap-in.
He capped off the hat trick midway through the second 45-minute period scoring an empty-netter after picking off a pass. The only LA Galaxy player with more MLS hat tricks than Keane (3) is Cobi Jones (4).
“Robbie’s getting sharper each and every game and he’s only going to get better,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena said. “As for Steven, when you add a player of his caliber it’s going to help your team. He’s going to need time to get integrated and used to playing with everyone but he’s outstanding on set pieces and he’s a great passer.”
Sebastian Lletget scored from an Ignacio Maganto pass in the 94th minute to clinch the 4-0 victory.
The LA Galaxy granted a release to Stefan Ishizaki who requested it due to family reasons – Ishizaki’s wife is pregnant with twins and would like to be closer to their family in Sweden.
“I just want to them them for all their support, for making me feel at home from day one, always chanting and rooting for us,” Ishizaki said about the fans. “Me and my whole family want to thank all you guys.”
In addition to next week’s match against Club America, the Galaxy have a US Open Cup quarterfinal at Real Salt Lake on July 14, before returning to MLS play May 21 against San Jose.