(Reuters) - Steven Gerrard made a brilliant Major League Soccer debut for Los Angeles, scoring a goal and having a hand in two others as the Galaxy beat the San Jose Earthquake 5-2 on Friday.
The Galaxy came from behind after conceding the first two goals, a comeback that was in no small measure thanks to their new star signing.
After spending his entire 17-season professional career with Liverpool, it did not take the 35-year-old Gerrard long to make an impact at his new home.
Watched by an enthusiastic crowd in Carson, California, that included his former England team mate David Beckham, Gerrard scored in the 37th minute to tie the game at 2-2 when he pounced at the far post on a low cross that was deflected into his path by a San Jose defender.
An ecstatic Gerrard ran to the corner flag and slid on his knees, before celebrating with his new team-mates.
Only seven minutes earlier, he was also responsible for the Galaxy’s first goal when he earned a penalty.
With the Galaxy already 2-0 down, Gerrard jumped for a loose ball in the box and was struck in the head by the left forearm of San Jose midfielder Tommy Thompson.
The referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot, and Galaxy captain Robbie Keane scored the first goal of his second successive league hat-trick.
The Gerrard show continued in the second half when he drilled a low free-kick across the box that Keane flicked home for the go-ahead goal in the 64th minute.
Gerrard was not done. Soon afterwards he almost scored again when he curled a 25-yard free kick that rocked the crossbar.
Keane completed his hat-trick in the 80th minute with his second penalty of the night, before Gerrard was substituted to a standing ovation.
Earlier, in the 22nd minute, San Jose defender Sanna Nyassi swept across an inch-perfect pass from the right wing and striker Quincy Amarikwa beat the defense to strike a fierce right-footed shot into the net from 18 yards to give the visitors the lead.
The Earthquake went further ahead three minutes later when Amarikwa scored again when he got free in a crowded penalty area as the Galaxy failed to deal with a free-kick.
But it was all Los Angeles after that, as the free-scoring Galaxy took their goal total to 20 in their past five MSL games.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Amlan Chakraborty