CARSON, Calif — In a match that featured the most animated crowd the StubHub Center has had all season, Steven Gerrard made a winning debut for Los Angeles Galaxy after playing first half of 2-1 friendly victory over Mexico’s Club America.
Gerrard played in the opening 45 minutes of Saturday night’s match. He had an opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net, but saw his attempt saved by Hugo Gonzalez.
On the counter, Club America’s Carlos Quintero put the Mexican side ahead in the seventh minute, putting an early scare in the Galaxy’s efforts to properly integrate Gerrard into the offense. The crowd – largely made up of Club America fans – erupted following their side’s early success.
A beautiful first-touch by Robbie Keane moments before halftime tied the game at one goal apiece. He controlled Juninho’s lob pass to perfection, bringing the ball back to his right foot to find the back of the net.
Alan Gordon scored the winner in the 80th minute, soaring above two defenders and heading in Raul Mendiola’s cross with a carefully-aimed shot. The hero, at least for the fans that came to support the Galaxy, was still Gerrard.
“Steven played well,” Galaxy coach Bruce Arena noted after the game. “His passing was very good. His partnership with Juninho was good. Won some tackles, helped create some chances. Could have had a goal, so his first time out was very encouraging. He looked like he belonged.”
”I love Liverpool football club and I always will,” Gerrard said at a press conference earlier this week. ”I’m still a fan and will be until the day that I die. I needed a new challenge, I needed a fresh obstacle.”
Gerrard will play his first MLS match on July 17 when the Galaxy host the San Jose Earthquakes.