CARSON, Calif. — LA Galaxy star midfielder Steven Gerrard just continues to rack up the helpers.
With his first two-assist performance in Monday’s 2-0 win over Vancouver, the English legend has now delivered seven assists in his last 10 games, placing him third among league leaders in that category this season. And he can be expected to attract plenty of attention from Osvaldo Alonso and the rest of the Sounders' midfielders when the Galaxy travel to face Seattle on Saturday afternoon (3 pm ET on ESPN in USA; MLS LIVE in Canada).
Some might give credit for Gerrard's rise in form and production to his manager, Bruce Arena, who recently moved him closer to the forward line in a central attacking midfield role.
Since his arrival in MLS last year, Gerrard has spent most of his time playing deeper. But in the last two league matches, since making the move higher up the field (a 1-1 tie vs. San Jose and the 2-0 win vs. Vancouver), the 36-year-old Designated Player has set up each of the Galaxy’s three goals.
“I don’t think it was me knocking on his door saying, ‘Play me up top,'” Gerrard told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “I think we had a discussion between ourselves. We’ve got people healthy now, so we’ve got all the defensive midfield positions covered with Nigel [De Jong] and obviously Jeff [Larentowicz] 100 percent fit now. And obviously Baggio [Husidic] can play in the roles as well.
"So that means I can push further forward and try and get closer towards the attacking players to try and make things happen.”
The former UEFA Champions League winner also feels that his increased productivity has coincided with the conclusion of a long transition period after moving to MLS and making his Galaxy debut last July. Gerrard is confident that there’s another level he can reach with LA, too.
“I know everyone on the roster now very well," said Gerrard. "On the pitch I know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from me, so I think the jelling period is there. It’s the reason why my form’s been quite good of late, but I’m not going to settle for that. I want to keep pushing, keep trying to add to my numbers.
"But certainly in this [central attacking midfield] position I know I can get the chances. I know I can create chances. I’ve done it all my career. I don’t think anyone will be surprised seeing me get assists and goals because I’ve done it for Liverpool for 17-18 years.”