Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 18, 2015
It took only 37 minutes for Steven Gerrard to open his MLS account for the LA Galaxy.
The 35-year-old midfielder, who was making his league debut in Friday night’s California derby against the San Jose Earthquakes, saw his side go 2-0 down within the opening 25 minutes at the StubHub Center but soon made his impact felt.
After winning a 30th-minute spot-kick for club captain and former Liverpool teammate Robbie Keane to convert, the Anfield legend found the equaliser seven minutes later, picking up the ball in his own half, carrying it 25 yards at San Jose's backtracking defence and then playing a pass behind Keane, who in turn sent it to Baggio Husidic on the right flank.
The winger then crossed into the middle of the box to Sebastian Lletget but the ball deflected off defender Clarence Goodson’s leg to their new star signing, who showed no hesitation in firing it into the back of the net.
LA’s hold on the game grew from there, as Keane put them in front in the 64th-minute after latching onto Gerrard’s free-kick at the near post, before completing his hat-trick with another penalty 10 minutes from the end after Husidic was brought down in the box.
Former West Ham United midfielder Lletget then iced the result in stoppage-time with a confident header from Robbie Rogers' cross, as Bruce Arena's side earned the bragging rights over their archrivals in accomplished fashion.
Gerrard lasted 88 minutes before going off for striker Edson Buddle and, after two previous 45-minute run-outs in last weekend's 2-1 International Champions Cup win over Club America and the 1-0 US Open Cup defeat at Real Salt Lake, looks far ahead of schedule with his fitness.
Speaking to MLSSoccer.com at the final whistle, he said: “Bruce was shouting on 'how you're doing' for about 60 minutes, but I pretended I couldn't hear him, just looking away.
“I felt like a kid out there today. I didn't want to come off. I want to play as much football as I can. One of the reasons why I came to this team was to start all the games and play as many minutes as possible.
“I was determined not to become a squad player. I fell like I've still got energy. I still love the game, I'm really enjoying training, I'm settling in pretty nicely, so so far, so good.”
So far, so good indeed.