CARSON, Calif. — Robbie Keane scored 21 minutes into his LA Galaxy debut as the Ireland international catapulted his new team to a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at the Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Keane and Mike Magee accounted for the scoring as the Galaxy surpassed the 50-point mark. The win sees LA run their lead over FC Dallas to eight points while Seattle climbed ahead of FCD with a 1-0 win at Pizza Hut Park and stayed six back of the Galaxy.
Keane joined the Galaxy just this week after the club parted ways with ineffective forward Juan Pablo Ángel. Keane had no such questions about his production, though, punctuating his debut with a goal.
Galaxy coach Bruce Arena did not wait long at all to see what Keane had to offer. Although the former Tottenham Hotspur man had just one training session and some conversation with Arena to familiarize himself with the squad, Keane started alongside Adam Cristman at striker.
Both teams took their time feeling one another out, though San Jose were a bit active in the early going. Khari Stephenson had three shots in the first 11 minutes but was unable to put one past Galaxy 'keeper Josh Saunders.
LA midfielder David Beckham, meanwhile, placed picture-perfect passes to teammates and it was that precision that led to Keane's first MLS strike.
Thanks to Beckham, Keane got his first goal in rather simplistic manner. The former England captain played a ball over the top of San Jose's defense. Keane easily walked onto the ball and had only Jon Busch to beat. The San Jose 'keeper flapped his arms at him but Keane got past Busch easily and slipped the ball into an empty net. The Irishman raced over and did his trademark cartwheel and somersault for the first time at his new home stadium.
Keane, who wore former LA forward Edson Buddle's old No. 14, became the 18th player in club history to score a goal on his Galaxy debut.
In the 57th minute, Joey Gjersten had perhaps San Jose's best opportunity of the match to level proceedings. The midfielder ran onto a well-played through ball and had just Saunders to beat, but instead pushed a slow-rolling shot wide of the goal.
San Jose, however, all but threw in the towel in the 81st minute when Steven Beitashour was sent off after match referee Andrew Chapin deemed that the Quakes defender intentionally kicked Landon Donovan as he tried to leap over the US national team star.
Left to fend with 10 men for the final eight minutes, the Quakes were unable to put much pressure on the Galaxy's defenders as the top team in MLS kept its comfortable perch atop the rest of the league.
Magee punctuated the victory with a goal in stoppage time, knocking in a cross from Sean Franklin.
The Galaxy now go on to face Costa Rica's LD Alajuelense in CONCACAF Champions League play on Aug. 25 before traveling to New York for a marquee match-up against the Red Bulls next Sunday.
San Jose, meanwhile, will head north of the border on Aug. 27 to face Toronto FC at BMO Field.
LA -- Robbie Keane 1 (David Beckham 11) 21
LA -- Mike Magee 3 (Sean Franklin 2, Landon Donovan 3) 90
SJ -- Rafael Baca (caution; Simulation) 54
LA -- Frankie Hejduk (caution; Reckless Foul) 68
SJ -- Steven Beitashour (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 81
San Jose Earthquakes -- Jon Busch, Steven Beitashour, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Justin Morrow, Joey Gjertsen (Ellis McLoughlin 86), Rafael Baca, Ramiro Corrales, Bobby Convey, Khari Stephenson (Edmundo Zura 71), Chris Wondolowski (Simon Dawkins 71).
Substitutes not used: David Bingham, Chris Leitch, Matt Luzunaris, Jacob Peterson.
LA Galaxy -- Josh Saunders, Frankie Hejduk, Omar Gonzalez, Gregg Berhalter, Todd Dunivant, Sean Franklin (Dan Keat 90), David Beckham, Juninho, Landon Donovan, Adam Cristman (Miguel Lopez 79), Robbie Keane (Mike Magee 72).
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Birchall, A.J. DeLaGarza, Michael Stephens, Brian Perk.
Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee's Assistants: Greg Barkey; Colin Arblaster
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Weather: Clear and 69 degrees