The former Liverpool captain's second-half strike secured Bruce Arena's men a 1-0 home victory over the Houston Dynamo on Friday night.
The Galaxy had the chance to take an early lead from the penalty spot after Dynamo defender David Horst was called for a handball in the box just seven minutes into the game, but captain Robbie Keane sent his ensuing effort sailing wide of the target.
The hosts eventually found what proved to be the winner midway through the second half, however, when Baggio Husidic sent a long ball over top that found Keane on the edge of the area.
The 36-year-old Irishman’s shot was subsequently parried away by Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Wills, but his former Liverpool teammate Gerrard was there to charge onto the rebound and slot the ball into an open net.
The former Red skipper now has three goals in 14 MLS appearances this season, in addition to a team-leading seven assists, and head coach Bruce Arena was quick to give his 80-minute performance a positive review at the final whistle.
“It was solid,” Arena told LAGalaxy.com after the win. “He felt a little something at the end of the game - that’s why he came out - but obviously an important goal. I thought he started the game real well and they did a real good job keying on blocking off passing lanes to Gerrard and Keane and getting around Giovani dos Santos quickly. They were prepared for the game and did a good job.”
Gerrard himself added on his 66th-minute strike: “There was a defender on the line. It was a guessing game, really. He chose to go right and I slotted it to my right, in the opposite direction. Sometimes they are difficult, because if he guesses the right way and I pass it the wrong way, he can stop the goal.
“But tonight was all about a gritty team performance. Houston came for a point, they had a lot of men behind the ball and there was no space out there. It was a game of patience and we knew we would get one good chance or maybe two good chances in the second half to score a goal and, thankfully, we took that. It’s not about me tonight. It’s about a gritty team performance, front to back.”
Friday night’s result was the Galaxy’s third straight league victory and lifts them up to third spot in the Western Conference on 32 points – five behind first-placed FC Dallas with two games in hand.
The club have suffered just three defeats in their 19 matches, recording eight wins and eight draws, and Gerrard believes they are now showing the kind of solidity that they lacked during last season’s run-in following his summer arrival from Liverpool.
“It feels different,” he added to LAGalaxy.com. “It feels like we’ve got men in here. Men who are prepared to do the dirty work and go the extra mile for each other. Last year – without naming names, we were all responsible for it – we were too weak, we were too flaky, we were all over the pitch and we were conceding stupid goals. And that’s the reason why we all went home in October. If we want to stay for the duration in this fight for the MLS Cup, we need to keep trying to build on the recent form, which has been very, very solid.”
The Galaxy’s next game sees them host the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night in the US Open Cup quarter-finals, before they travel up to the Pacific Northwest to face the Portland Timbers at Providence Park three days later.