Steven Gerrard’s form in the run up to the close of the English soccer season worried most MLS fans.
After all, it was already well-known in soccer circles that the Liverpool legend would be heading out of Liverpool and England. His next destination would be LA Galaxy, where the milestones crossed by friend and former England teammate awaited him.
In the most crucial games for Liverpool last season, The 35-year-old seemed listless, lost and lacking in the strength that propelled his Merseyside team to the champion’s league trophy one night in Istanbul, approximately 10 years ago. In the crunch match against bitter Liverpool rivals, Manchester United, the number 8 clattered into a rival and was sent off 38 seconds into his cameo.
In the last game of the season, Gerrard watched painfully as his boyhood club got hit for 6 by heavy underdogs, Stoke City.
Galaxy fans took to Twitter and Facebook to express their concern.
However, the former England midfielder has settled in nicely with the crowd at Galaxy as shown by his performance against the San José Earthquakes. Gerrard has built a reputation as a midfield maestro who steps up to the plate and carries his team on his shoulders when need be.
In his first run out in the MLS, he found the team he is supposed to win games for up against the wall. The Earthquakes took a quick lead and then cushioned it with a second goal. As friend and countryman David Beckham watched on, the team struggled to fashion out chances.
Until Steven pounced with characteristic audacity.
His goal had the drive of a leader. His vision was as good as ever, and it was hard to imagine this player 5 months ago. Around the stadium, Galaxy fans breathed a collective sigh of relief. Their future talisman was back in the game, and he was not going to sit back and watch the spoils go with the Earthquakes.
In a thrilling encounter, Gerrard exited in the dying stages with that memorable goal and an assist in his first MLS game for the team. He was also instrumental in another goal, playing a huge part in Robbie Keane’s penalty.
When Gerrard left the pitch, there was a standing ovation from those around the terraces.
Such is the turn of fortunes Steven is seen to be enjoying. When he relocated to California, he downplayed his significance to LA Galaxy, suggesting that he could never fill the boots of Manchester United ace Beckham. According to him, the former number 7 was up and above him when it came to soccer. Well, in his first game, he had in the audience his old friend, who brought along sons Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz. In the crowd, the familiar face of his wife, Alex was seen beaming, especially after the goal.
For Gerrard and his teammates at LA Galaxy, this is shaping up to be one exciting season. Beckham however, is shaping up to watch an exciting season for his old club United, who have made a raft of signings in a bid to chase the premier league title.
As Gerrard and Beckham settle in to their new roles (Beckham is pushing for his Miami Franchise to take off in the next few years), much attention will now be focused on what Liverpool and Manchester united can do to upset the balance in the title chase. Over the last two seasons, these two traditional powerhouses of English soccer have lost the traction to compete with the money and talent pumped into the league by Chelsea and Manchester city.
Louis Van Gaal has made a raft of signings to make sure that his team can compete. However, the long-running saga involving goalkeeper David De Gea has not yet been settled, and the Dutchman is beat down because he feels that the push by Real Madrid to sign the highly rated show-stopper is a distraction.
In the meantime, United fans around the world will be pleased to know that the club’s match day tickets are available on Ticketbis through their website.
Editor’s Note: This sponsored guest article appears courtesy of Spain-based ticket merchant, Ticketbis, an online platform where users can buy and sell tickets to events. Follow them on Twitter at @Ticketbis