LA Galaxy 4, Toronto FC 0 | MLS Match Recap
CARSON, Calif. -- The LA Galaxy introduced their newest legend to their fans Saturday night, but not until their reigning legend had his say.
Robbie Keane scored two first-half goals en route to his second hat trick in two and a half weeks as LA (8-6-7) posted their fourth straight blowout victory at StubHub Center, a 4-0 triumph over Toronto FC.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard received a rousing welcome from a sellout crowd of 27,000 when he was introduced at halftime, and he watched the Galaxy climb within a point of the Western Conference lead, behind Seattle and Vancouver.
The English midfielder, who will become eligible for the Galaxy when the summer transfer window opens Wednesday, is expected to make his debut in next Saturday's International Champions Cup friendly against Mexico's Club America at StubHub Center.
Keane, MLS's MVP last season, converted a penalty kick in the ninth minute, finished a superb sequence with a tap-in just before halftime, then scored an empty-netter after picking off a back pass just before the hour mark to double his MLS total this season to six goals.
It was his third career MLS hat trick and comes just 17 days after he scored three in a 6-1 US Open Cup rout of amateurs PSA Elite. The Galaxy followed that with two lopsided MLS wins -- 5-1 over Philadelphia and 5-0 over Portland -- and have outscored their past four foes at StubHub 20-2.
Sebastian Lletget added the fourth goal deep into second-half stoppage time.
LA did well to limit the danger posed by Toronto star Sebastian Giovinco, who came into the game with eight goals, seven assists and as early favorite for this year's MVP honor.
The Galaxy were without three starters and Toronto FC four, away for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Robbie Findley replaced Jozy Altidore up front for Toronto, Benoit Cheyrou stepped into central midfield for Michael Bradley, Jay Chapman made his first MLS start on the left side of midfield in place of Jonathan Osorio, and Warren Creavalle took over at right back with Justin Morrow moving to the left side in place of Ashtone Morgan.
The Galaxy went ahead at the start, with Keane converting from the spot after referee Chris Penso whistled Creavalle for clipping Lletget from behind. Lletget had run onto a ball into the box from Robbie Rogers and had turned toward goal when he went down.
Keane netted the second in the 41st. It came from the right, with Dan Gargan, on the flank, feeding inside to Stefan Ishizaki, who played a through ball for Baggio Husidic that beat several defenders. Husidic sent it into the goalmouth, and Keane put it in the net.
Toronto came out stronger in the second half, and nearly cut the deficit in half three times in the first six minutes. Giovinco fed Delgado, who was saved by Rowe in the 48th, and Collen Warner's rebound was blocked. Two minutes later, Rowe came off his line to deny Findley from a Giovinco through ball, and moments later Giovinco fired at Rowe from the left.
The Italian forward was a constant challenge for the LA's backline, and he nearly scored again in the 74th, forcing Rowe down to his left to corral the ball.
Keane finished his hat trick in the 59th minute, collecting a long through ball from Morrow, rounding goalkeeper Chris Konopka and firing into the open net. Lletget scored from an Ignacio Maganto pass in the 94th minute.
Following next week's Club America game, the Galaxy have a US Open Cup quarterfinal at Real Salt Lake on July 14 before returning to MLS play May 21 against San Jose. Toronto FC play next Sunday at New York City FC.