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CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Robbie Keane knocked another goal into the open New York City FC net and took off sprinting with his arms outstretched, basking in the sellout crowd's relentless roars.
In the first meeting between two Major League Soccer franchises loaded with big-name talent, Keane and the LA Galaxy showed they know how to put it all together.
Keane had two goals and two assists, and the Galaxy demonstrated their championship form in a 5-1 victory over New York on Sunday, moving back atop the MLS table with their fourth straight win.
Giovani dos Santos, Gyasi Zardes and Sebastian Lletget each had a goal and an assist as the Galaxy utterly dominated expansion New York, which played without injured English star Frank Lampard. Even with Steven Gerrard missing out on his much-anticipated stateside showdown with Lampard, the Galaxy left little doubt they've built the league's most complete team with all of their expensive talent.
"We're not here to just take part," Keane said. "We're here to be the best team in this league. We're well-known across the world, and we're expected to win."
The Galaxy scored three times in a 16-minute span of the second half, repeatedly exposing New York's porous defense.
The Galaxy (13-7-7) have won eight of 10 MLS matches while climbing atop the Supporters' Shield standings, although almost every team has games in hand on them. They've outscored their last eight home opponents 37-6 across all competitions as their midseason additions mesh with their talented core.
"Once we catch flow, we keep it going," said Zardes, the U.S. national teamer. "It's just great to be on the field with all these guys."
This marquee MLS matchup lost a bit of bite shortly before game time when New York ruled out Lampard, who still isn't completely match-fit after his move from Manchester City last month.
The game was heavily promoted with images of Lampard and Gerrard, the longtime England teammates and Premiership rivals. The start time even was moved so the festivities could be aired in prime time in Britain.
Lampard wasn't ready to return from a quadriceps injury, but New York still fielded David Villa, Italian superstar Andrea Pirlo and U.S. national team member Mix Diskerud. They simply couldn't defend Keane and his high-octane teammates.
Villa scored on a penalty in the 80th minute for New York, which has one win in its last five games.
"I thought we completely controlled three-quarters of the match and certainly deserved to win," Gerrard said. "Our fans were great. We had a nice atmosphere."
Fans in more than 150 nations watched the only meeting between the two franchises that have taken the most zealous advantage of MLS' rules for signing big-name players. The five-time champion Galaxy have a dynamic core of talent around Keane, while expansion New York's Abu Dhabi parent company signed several notable names for its inaugural season.
"It's unbelievable, the hype this league has created in the last few years," Keane said. "It's getting bigger and bigger. People want to be here. People are calling me every week. This is the league that people want to be in. They used to want to be in Spain. Now they want to be here."
Keane set up Zardes' goal on a header late in the first half, and the reigning MLS MVP scored early in the second half after a sharp pass from dos Santos, who got his own goal shortly afterward on an undefended run.
Lletget scored the Galaxy's fourth goal by tipping home a pass from Gerrard, and Keane capped the destruction with his second goal off a pass from Robbie Rogers in the 81st minute. The goal also was the 1,000th by the Galaxy, the most in MLS history.
Keane has 15 goals in the Galaxy's last 10 matches across all competitions, while dos Santos has three goals and five assists in the Mexican international's first five games after leaving La Liga's Villareal for Los Angeles.
Pirlo got a standing ovation when he left for a substitute in the 75th minute.
The Galaxy nearly scored a sixth goal in the waning minutes, but Keane and Gerrard were left laughing after they repeatedly passed to each other near the goal without shooting.
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