The 35-year-old Englishman had to be replaced by fellow midfielder Baggio Husidic just three minutes into the game after injuring his calf in a tackle, compounding what’s been a difficult start to his first full campaign in MLS.
He had previously looked off the pace in both the season-opening 4-1 victory against D.C. United and last weekend's 1-0 loss at the Colorado Rapids, and this latest setback is sure to give the growing number of critics more ammunition to scrutinise his lack of production.
Thankfully for the Galaxy, though, Husidic proved a more than worthy replacement for the former Liverpool captain, as he provided some much-needed drive in the centre of the park alongside the tough-tackling Nigel de Jong.
After a heated opening 45 minutes, the Earthquakes went a man down in first-half stoppage-time when Simon Dawkins was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on Sebastian Lletget, and Bruce Arena’s men took advantage from there.
Gyasi Zardes opened the scoring in the 56th-minute off a set-piece play before adding his second just six minutes later after capitalising on some poor defending from the visitors.
Chris Wondolowksi pulled one back for the Quakes in the 89th-minute, but their hopes of a comeback were dashed moments later when Victor Bernardez tripped Robbie Keane in the box, allowing the Irishman to seal the hosts the three points from the spot.
The result leaves LA with six points from their first three games of the season after the loss at the Rapids and the preceding win over D.C. United, but their squad depth has been tested so far.
The club were already without first-choice goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and star forward Giovani dos Santos before Gerrard joined them on the treatment table, and while their next match at the Vancouver Whitecaps is not until 2 April, the quick turn-around after the international break means the likes of Keane and Zardes could miss out on the trip.
“[Having depth] is important,” head coach Arena told the Galaxy’s official website after the win over San Jose. “Obviously I’m concerned about it, but I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the other guys get on the field and help us. Over the next couple weeks, we’ll figure out what we’re going to do.
“The travel for the international players will be difficult and likely, when we travel to Vancouver, we are going to have a number of changes in the lineup and that’s good to see where we’re at with some of those players.”