Robbie Keane scores twice as LA Galaxy rout NYCFC
In a showcase of Major League Soccer's two most star-studded teams, the defending league champs 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 four straight MLS games and eight of 10 while climbing atop the league standings, although almost every team has games in hand on them.
David Villa scored on a penalty in the 80th minute for New York, which has one win in its last five games.
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 as the first stateside meeting between Lampard and Steven 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.
New York still fielded Villa, Italian superstar Andrea Pirlo and U.S. national team member Mix Diskerud, but simply couldn't defend Keane and his high-octane teammates.
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.
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 in Galaxy 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.