Chicharito scores twice when Galaxy defeated Inter Miami


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It only took 73 minutes.

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez tried to change history last season, kicking off his 2021 MLS campaign with two goals in the second half to spark a rally in the Los Angeles Galaxy in a 3-2 win over Inter Miami.

Chicharito only scored two goals in 2020, which generated nothing but negative attention for Mexico’s all-time top scorer. But in the run-up to the season, Hernandez, who said he was at his best physically and mentally, promised changes.

He delivered on a tough 90 degree day in South Florida Sunday.

His first goal was an ode to what made him such a famous striker – a run into the penalty area that knocked the defender against the ball and put it in the back of the net with his skill:

The second goal was more about being in the right place at the right time, as a ricochet on the long post hit his feet right on his feet so he could put it down:

Seasoned midfielder Sacha Kljestan secured the three points when his shot kissed the post in the 81st minute.

However, this was more than just an inaugural victory for the galaxy.

This was about getting Hernandez back in shape and living up to the expectations everyone was eager to have when he signed with the Galaxy. In addition to dealing with the pandemic and injuries last year Chicharito admitted Dealing with his grandfather’s death weighed heavily on him.

“Everything I’ve done so far is worth it,” he said after Sunday’s victory. “Even this bad year helped me a lot to improve. If we don’t have bad moments, where is the improvement? “

It will be a long process to get the galaxy back to championship standards and head coach Greg Vanney will be the first to let you know they won’t be jumping with the gun after Sunday.

After all, he told the players.

“In short, I told them to remember that feeling and everything they put on the field today to get there,” Vanney said. “It’s an emotion to remember.”

Ask those who were part of the roster last year and they will tell you that the energy in this current group is different. There was a certain kind of camaraderie that was lacking before. Even then, Vanney can help shape the culture, but it’s up to the players to bring that energy to the field.

And like it or not, that starts and ends with how Chicharito performs. Last season was the proof it took the galaxy to see how low things could get.

“I never felt like I was the worst player last season and at the moment I don’t feel like I am the best player at all,” said Chicharito. “I’m just Javier Hernandez, Chicharito, who knows how to play football, what to do on the field to help my team-mates and just wants to be the better version of myself every day.”

This version saved what turned out to be yet another lackluster Galaxy feat that was unimaginative in the final third and doomed to lose points as a result.

Then Chicharito worked his magic. In 2020, he didn’t look capable. In 2021, it will already look like the galaxy’s ticket to the playoff competition.

Javier Hernandez scored as many goals against Inter Miami on Sunday as he did in 2020 for the Galaxy. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins / Getty Images)

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