Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane accent Galaxy's 4-0 win over Toronto

Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane accent Galaxy's 4-0 win over Toronto
Galaxy forward Robbie Keane (arms raised) celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal in a 4-0 victory over Toronto on Saturday night at StubHub Center. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Steven Gerrard wished the fans a happy Fourth of July, Robbie Keane provided fireworks with a hat trick, and the Galaxy cruised to a 4-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 27,000 at StubHub Center in Carson.

Gerrard, Liverpool's legendary midfielder, has been in Southern California for about a week and has already made a big impression with the Galaxy and its fans.


Gerrard, who is expected to debut for his new team next week, was introduced to fans at halftime Saturday, and the Dublin-born Keane said he's excited to be reunited with his former Liverpool teammate.

"He's a good guy on and off the field, and the players are responding to him and his training and the way he plays and how he gets the ball and moves it quickly," Keane said. "He's going to be a huge player for us. I think everyone is really excited to have him here."

Gerrard endeared himself to the Galaxy's three biggest support groups, Angel City Brigade, Galaxians and LA Riot Squad, when he bought beer for their pregame tailgate parties. In a handwritten letter on the team's website, Gerrard, who will wear No. 8, expressed eagerness to get on the pitch with his new club. The English star reiterated that when given the microphone at midfield Saturday.

"My family and I are very excited to be here," said Gerrard, who signed an 18-month, $9-million designated player contract with the Galaxy in January. "I can't wait to get the boots on and play in front of you guys."

Gerrard joined Liverpool in 1998 and scored 120 goals in 504 games. He played his last game for the club May 24. He also scored 21 goals in 114 games for England in international competition.

The Galaxy (8-6-7) didn't wait until halftime to give the fans something to cheer about. After midfielder Sebastian Lletget was tripped from behind in the 18-yard box, Keane buried the penalty kick to give Los Angeles a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute.

Keane made it 2-0 in the 41st minute, redirecting a feed from midfielder Baggio Husidic past Toronto goalkeeper Chris Konopka, and completed his hat trick in the 59th minute, firing into an empty net with Konopka caught out of position.

The Galaxy captain has six goals and four assists in nine starts this season. This was the third three-goal game of his Galaxy career.

Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe preserved the shutout with a diving stop on a breakaway by Sebastian Giovinco in the 75th minute, and Lletget scored the final goal moments before the final whistle in a victory that moved the Galaxy into sole possession of third place in the Western Conference with 31 points, one behind Seattle and Vancouver.

Gerrard will be eligible to play when the summer transfer window opens Wednesday. He could play his first game for the Galaxy on Saturday against Mexico's Club America in the International Champions Cup. His first MLS appearance is likely to be July 17 against visiting San Jose.

Toronto (7-7-2) has not defeated the Galaxy at StubHub Center in league play since 2008.

"Robbie's getting sharper each and every game and he's only going to get better," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said of Keane. "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."


Arena announced that Saturday's game was Stefan Ishizaki's last with the Galaxy. The team has issued him a release so he can finish his career in Sweden. His wife is expecting twins. Ishizaki signed with the Galaxy on Jan. 30, 2014.

"When we brought him in we needed a right-side midfielder and he filled that role nicely," Arena said. "He's been an outstanding player for us, he's very well-liked by all the players and we're going to miss him."