Good morning and welcome to the live commentary of Steven Gerrard
's first match as a Los Angeles Galaxy
player in their clash against Club America
Gerrard makes his first appearance for the Galaxy this evening after deciding to end his 17 years at Liverpool to join the MLS Cup holders. The 35-year-old admitted that he found the decision to leave the Merseysiders a difficult one to make as he believed he thought he would end his career at the club, but he has confessed
that he needed a new challenge in his life.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers
faced criticism for his failure to keep Gerrard at the club as they were just one season removed from competing for the Premier League title, but the midfielder decided to end his 17-year stay at Anfield in search of fresh lease of life after making 710 appearances for Liverpool.
Gerrard's final appearance for Liverpool was one to forget as his side were hammered 6-1 by Stoke City in the final match of the Premier League season. The 35-year-old got on the scoresheet at the Britannia Stadium so he was given one last hoorah in the English top flight, but he will be keen to erase that final memory to kickstart his career with the Galaxy.
It has been two months since the 35-year-old has played a competitive match, so he will probably be short of match fitness this evening. He made need a little bit of time to bed into Bruce Arena's team this evening in the StubHub Center.
Last week Gerrard was officially unveiled by the club with much excitement in front of his new supporters at the StubHub Center, and he revealed his determination to add to his career trophy haul.
He said: "It feels great to be here. I'm excited. I can't wait to get my boots on and play in front of you guys. Hopefully we can have some good times together."
The team news has been annouced and we'll start with the Galaxy.
GALAXY STARTING XI: Rowe, Gargan, DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Dunivant, Husidic, Juninho, Gerrard, Lletget, Villarreal, Keane
Subs: Wolverton, Vayrynen, Gordon, Maganto, Buddle, Meyer, Garcia, Walker, Jamieson, Mendiola, Steres, Romney
As if you didn't know Gerrard starts in the heart of the Galaxy midfield this evening. Juninho will play alongside him in four-man midfield with Baggio Husidic and Sebastian Lletget operating on the flanks. Robbie Keane
leads the line in attack fresh off a hat-trick in his side's 4-0 truimph over the San Jose Earthquakes last week.
Just 10 minutes to go until kickoff now...
CLUB AMERICA STARTING XI: Gonzalez, Buron, Pimentel, Goltz, Mares, Guerrero, Rivera, Andrade, Sambueza, Quintero, Arroyo
Subs: Martinez, Samudio, Benedetto, Guemez, Veyna, Aguilar, Pineda
Gerrard has gone through the final steps in his warm-up, he needs it at his age...
Condition will be quite humid in the StubHub Center this evening for Gerrard so it could take him a while to get up to speed, although he was allowed to train at Melwood by Liverpool before he flew out to Los Angeles late last month.
The players are in the tunnel and the first time a very long while Gerrard is not at the front of the queue waiting to take the field. It must take him back to early memories of his career, life's a whole lot different for him now.
The teams are out on the field and we should be underway very shortly.
KICKOFF! We're underway in the StubHub Center.
Gerrard has his first touch as a Galaxy player as he receives the ball from Villarreal and passes back to Gargan.
A poor pass from Leonardo has Rowe scrambling across his box to prevent the ball going out for a corner and the keeper does well to keep the ball in and clear his lines downfield.
A strong start to the game from Club America in this game as they are pressing the Galaxy high up the field to disrupt the home side's passing rhythm. Gerrard is struggling to get into the match at the moment.
Gerrard then shows his class as he picks up the ball in his own half and sprays a cross-field diagonal ball with pinpoint accuracy into the feet of Gargan to launch an attack. The right-back tries to thread a through ball into the path of Husidic but the ball is cut out.
GOAL! LA Galaxy 0-1 Club America (Quintero)
Club America take the lead as Quintero picks up the ball in the final third and plays it to Arroyo. The forward carries on his run off the ball and is found with a through ball, and then manages to keep his composure to slot the ball through the legs of Rowe. A great start by the visitors.
The Galaxy try to hit back immediately as Husidic plays the ball down the flank for the run of Lletget, but his cross is poor and the visitors manage to clear their lines. The home side have been poor in the final third so far this evening.
CHANCE! Club America threaten again as they win a corner down the right. Arroyo lifts the ball in and Pimentel attacks the ball unmarked 12 yards from goal, but he can only direct his header wide of the post.
Better from Los Angeles as Juninho raids forward from midfield and lines up a drive from the edge of the box. His strike has power but no direction as it sails harmlessly wide of the post.
Gerrard gets back to do his defensive duties as he beats Andrade for a header on the edge of his own penalty area to allow Dunivant to clear the ball to safety. Desire from the midfielder is already present from the veteran.
CHANCE! Lletget misses a golden chance to fire home an equaliser for the Galaxy as he can only drive his effort wide from close range. Keane is played through behind the America defense, but Gonzalez forces the striker wide, forcing him to slide the ball across the face of goal. The ball is deflected into the path of the Lletget, who pokes it with his left foot, but his effort trickles wide of the post under pressure from Pimentel.
Apparently Pimentel did enough to deflect the effort wide himself as the referee awarded a corner. From the resulting cross Villarreal rises highest in the area, but his headed is saved with ease by Gonzalez.
Quintero causes problems for the home side again as he races down the left flank and Gargan opts out of the challenge to bring him down. The winger advances into the box, but he tries too many tricks and the Galaxy win the ball to clear the danger. Quintero has been the danger man so far this evening.
CHANCE! Gerrard's first sight of goal of the evening as he drives forward from the midfield and strikes with venom from the edge of the box, but Goltz comes in with a well-timed block. The ball comes back to Gerrard following a cross from the left, and he guides the ball towards goal with a left-footed volley, only to see his strike go well wide.
CHANCE! Gerrard is denied a debut goal by an excellent save by Gonzalez. The midfielder timed his run into the box to collect a lay-off from Villarreal in the inside right channel, and he raided forward before firing the ball low, but the keeper made an impressive block his his feet to keep the effort out.
The Galaxy have found space down the flanks over the past few minutes so the visitors are trying to take the pace out of the game by keeping possession in the middle of the park. The match has been played at a rapid tempo in the first 25 minutes.
CHANCE! Andrade gives the ball away on the edge of his own box to Keane, who takes a touch to control the ball before unleashing a volley. However, Pimentel comes to the rescue by deflecting the strike over the bar.
CHANCE! From the resulting corner, Club America hit the home side on the break and Arroyo speeds down the flank and to the byline before his cross is deflected into the path of Goltz. The ball arrives at the defender quickly and he cannot guide the ball past Rowe from close range.
It's the Galaxy's turn to take a breather from the brisk tempo of the match as they are knocking the ball around at the back. Gerrard has displayed a few neat touches and does not seem to be affected by the pace of the match so far.
SUBSTITUTION: Blow for the Galaxy as Villarreal takes a knock to the ankle and is forced off. Ignacio Maganto comes on to replace him.
CHANCE! Quintero's quick feet cause problems for the home side again as he beats a challenge and then feeds Andrade on the edge of the box. The midfielder lifts the ball over the top of the Galaxy defence for the run of Quintero, but Dunivant does just enough to put the forward off his strike as he puts the ball wide of the target.
Gerrard raids forward again and plays the ball with authority into the feet of Husidic, who feeds the ball back to the midfielder on the edge of the box. The 35-year-old shows off his skill with a neat backheel to Keane, but he loses the ball and the visitors break with pace.
CHANCE! Quintero races down the left and the ball is worked across the edge of the box into the path of Rivera with a chance to double his side's lead. However, his miscues his effort and the ball is cleared by the Galaxy. The Mexican side have been so dangerous on the break.
Club America have been really good at pressing the ball in the first half, but Arroyo is too overzealous in his attempt as he bundles Gargan over with a strong challenge. The visitors have defintely had the better intensity to their game in the opening 41 minutes.
Husidic releases the run of Lletget down the right and he tries to find Keane at the back post with a cross, but Gonzalez does well to read the cross and make the vital interception.
GOAL! LA Galaxy 1-1 Club America (Keane)
Keane finds an equaliser due to a sublime bit of skill as he takes the ball out of the air and controls the ball with one touch. Gonzalez and Buron are beaten all ends up, and with the keeper out of his net, Keane is left with a simple finish to roll the ball into the net. The control and touch of the striker was a thing of beauty for that goal.
There will be one minute of added time.
HALF-TIME: LA Galaxy 1-1 Club America
Steven Gerrard's first 45 minutes for the LA Galaxy are in the books and he will be satisfied with his display this evening. The 35-year-old showed his excellent range of passing and could have scored with a driving run into the box, only to be denied by a good save by Hugo Gonzalez
. His fitness will come, but he will be very encouraged by his display as he will now leave the field for the second half.
The game has been quite even as Club America dominating proceedings in the opening 20 minutes of the match and Carlos Quintero
fired them ahead in the seventh minute. The visitors continued to look threatening on the break, but couldn't capitalise on their chances, which was to cost them as a moment of brilliance from Robbie Keane levelled the match.
The Galaxy have had their moments in the game and none better than Keane's sublime bit of control to find the equaliser, but Bruce Arena will want to see more from his team in the final third in the second half to win the match.
SUBSTITUTIONS: All change for the Galaxy at the break as nine players, including Gerrard, are substituted. Only Maganto and Rowe keep their places from the first half.
RESTART: Club America get us back underway.
Raul Mendiola takes a nice touch on the edge of the box and drives forward with the support of Buddle. The forward takes the shot on after collecting a pass from the midfielder, only to scuff his effort, allowing Gonzalez to gather.
Better pressure on the ball in the second half from the Galaxy players as they are pushing the visitors back into their own half. Younger and fresher legs may have played a part in the early pressing from Arena's men.
YELLOW CARD! Maganto goes into the book as he brings down Sambueza with a challenge from behind.
Garcia does well down the right flank for the home side as he coasts past Sambueza and lifts the ball into the box, but no player in white can latch on to the cross.
YELLOW CARD! Sambueza is booked for a late challenge on Garcia and the Galaxy have a free kick in a dangerous position on the right wing.
CHANCE! Walker lifts the ball in from the right and finds Gordon at the back post, but his header is blocked. The forward the collects the rebound and attempts to smash a volley at goal, but Pimentel makes the follow-up block before the ball is hacked away.
YELLOW CARD! Another booking for the visitors as Goltz is yellow-carded for a challenge on Walker.
Quintero breaks through the middle of the Galaxy defence and knocks the ball ahead of him. Romney is in a foot race with the forward, but just does enough to clear his lines to thwart the Colombian.
SUBSTITUTION: A change in keeper for the Galaxy as Rowe is replaced by Wolverton.
The home side win a free kick 35 yards from goal, and Maganto opts to take a strike at the target, but his effort is tame and is easily gathered by Gonzalez. A waste from that distance as the midfielder had bodies to hit inside the box.
Arroyo raids down the right flank and decides to cut in on to his left foot. The forward has options around him in support, but opts to strike the ball at goal, but Steres makes an important block to quell the danger.
The half chances continue as Gordon loops the ball high into the box, and Buddle does well to outmuscle Goltz to win the header. However, he cannot generate any power on his effort and Gonzalez watches the ball go past the post.
Garcia does well to make an important last-ditch tackle on Quintero as the forward collected pinpoint pass from Sambueza to bare down on goal, but the defender stood him up before winning the ball.
SUBSTITUTIONS: Quintero and Rivas make way for the visitors as they are replaced by Sanchez and Vazquez.
CHANCE! Garcia brings down Sambueza 30 yards from goal to present Club America with a chance to threaten Wolverton's goal. Arroyo lines up the effort and curls the ball over the wall towards the bottom corner, but the keeper is alert to the danger to palm the ball past the post.
Another scrappy foul by the Galaxy allows Sambueza to lift a dangerous cross into the box from a free kick from the left, but the home side manage to clear the danger.
GOAL! LA Galaxy 2-1 Club America (Gordon)
The Galaxy take the lead through a quality goal from Alan Gordon
as he guides a header over Gonzalez into the net with the aid of the post. Mendiola created the opening as he collected the ball down the right, and he picked out the forward with an accurate cross, and Gordon did well to take the pace off it to find the back of the net.
A fine goal from the Galaxy, but can the Mexican side produce a response in the final nine minutes of the match?
Jamieson raids forward with pace and bursts into the box down the inside right channel. He cuts back on to his left foot eyeing a strike at goal, but his touch is too heavy and the Guerrero makes the interception.
SUBSTITUTION: Guerrero's last act is to make the interception as he is replaced by Marin.
The Galaxy are doing their utmost to take the pace out of the game by knocking the ball around at the back and aking their time over throw-ins and set pieces.
Marin collects the loose ball on the edge of the box and carves out space for a strike, but his effort lacks power and Wolverton is able to gather with ease to take a few more seconds off the clock.
There will be three minutes of added time.
Club America are pumping long balls into the box, but the young Galaxy defenders are up to the challenge and clear the ball away. Time is running out for the Mexican side.
FULL-TIME: Los Angeles Galaxy 2-1 Club America
Steven Gerrard's first match as a Los Angeles Galaxy player ends in 2-1 victory for his new club as they come from behind to defeat Club America. The Mexican side took the lead in the seventh minute through Carlos Quintero, but the home team rallied through a sublime strike from Robbie Keane before the break, while a late header from Alan Gordon handed them the victory.
Gerrard played 45 minutes for his new side and did not miss a beat as he displayed his accurate passsing and runs into the box, and was only denied a debut goal by a fine save by Hugo Gonzalez. The 35-year-old will be pleased with his debut as he slowly attempts to build up his match fitness for the MLS campaign.
Thanks for joining our commentary today. Be sure to stick with Sports Mole throughout the day for our coverage of the all the sporting action from around the world. But from me, it's goodbye.