When the announcement of the Mexico’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez sounded that he would be coming to play in Los Angeles, it created a buzz that would garner the attention of several news outlets.
The fanfare blared throughout social media, television, and all the way unto the LAX International Airport terminals where hundreds of fans lined up to welcome the striker as he set foot in LA ready to play for the Galaxy. While the hype was certainly real, the product that would sparingly appear on the field in 2020 was not what everyone had expected.
Chicharito was brought in to fill the massive hole that was left after the departure of the world-class giant Zlatan Ibrahimović, who had just come off of a season where he set a franchise goal scoring record with the club. Nevertheless, with the backing of the fans and club knowing that Chicharito was a forward of a different dynamic, there remained high expectations of the player.
What was thought to be an ideal situation and a record $9.4 million transfer fee from Spanish side Sevilla, Chicharito only notched two goals in twelve games, with subpar performances throughout the season.
What went wrong?
It was a difficult year for Hernandez. He simply could not find any type of rhythm when he played. Adding to that was the mediocre quality of the entire team production which did not help his situation. Furthermore, he wrestled with injuries when the MLS is Back Tournament commenced and appeared to struggle with his fitness and did not look ready to play most times. To add insult to injury, his grandfather passed away last year who was a big influence in his life and has had what appears to be very unfortunate issues with his marriage. All of this, while trying to adapt to a new country and a new lifestyle and being the face of the most decorated club in Major League Soccer. In spite of the negative talk from fans and media, to say he was under a lot of pressure would be an understatement.
It does seem however, that a tide is turning for Chicharito.
He has been seen in videos and photos working out and looking physically fit and has recently admitted that last year was a challenge but has been vocal about his dedication to club and is looking forward to a much better season.
He further went on to say that he has “I have a big debt with my club. I have a big debt with my fans, with the Galaxy family”
LA Galaxy GM Dennis Te Kloese also recently stated that “It speaks very highly of him that he takes responsibility, it speaks very highly of him that he takes ownership of what he needs to do.”
The good news is that Chicharito is working hard to get back to full form. “I haven’t worked this hard in my whole life”
Head coach Greg Vanney is also working closely with him, to get him back to his scoring ways. “I’m excited to work with him. I think we can create a system and a style of play that really makes sense for him, that can help him to be really successful in terms of in front of the goal” says Vanney.
If the Galaxy can continue to bring in the right players to fill in the talent gaps, under the direction of the new leadership, this certainly has the potential to be a season that can help erase the memory of 2020. Chicharito, appears to be in a much better mindset, and being in a better physical condition and says he is ready to make a difference on the field and pay off the “debt” he has with the club and fans. In support of the striker, there will be no doubt that he will have an improved season that Galaxy fans can look forward to.
Featured Image: Staff FT/Futbol Total