Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez scored twice in LA Galaxy’s season-opening win over Inter Miami, and head coach Greg Vanney believes the Mexico star has eased the pressure on his shoulders.
The Galaxy beat Miami 3-2 last weekend, with Hernandez the main man. Next up for Vanney’s team are New York Red Bulls, who lost to Sporting Kansas City in their first outing of 2021.
Hernandez endured a difficult first season in MLS, having joined from Sevilla. He scored just twice across 12 appearances for the Galaxy in total.
However, Vanney is confident Hernandez’s troubles are well and truly behind him.
“Javier getting off to a two-goal start is great,” Vanney said.
“He’s put a lot of pressure on himself, a lot of people have talked about that and his struggles, but getting off to that start allows him to relax. He’s not pushing and forcing for that first goal. He’s going to get his chances, his goals are going to come.
“I’m sure there’s some relief, he’s a fantastic player and the ball is going to go into the back of the net as long as he’s him.”
The Red Bulls, meanwhile, have bolstered their ranks ahead of the meeting with the Galaxy, bringing in midfielder Frankie Amaya from FC Cincinnati.
Amaya, the overall number one pick in the 2019 MLS Super Draft, made 22 starts last season, scoring one goal, but his relationship with Cincinnati deteriorated, and the Red Bulls swooped in.
“I’m very happy that we have added Frankie to our team,” said Red Bulls boss Gerhard Struber.
“His technical skills and ability with the ball will give us more control and more options in transition and in the final third. The task for us as a coaching staff will be to integrate him quickly and immerse him in our tactics and game plan.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LA Galaxy – Javier Hernandez
Hernandez’s double last time out was the first time he had netted more than once in a league game since scoring twice for West Ham against Huddersfield Town in the Premier League on March 16, 2019, and he will be determined to get a streak going.
New York Red Bulls – Brian White
The Red Bulls were not exactly a free-scoring team last year, but Brian White finished top of their scoring charts with six goals. He featured against Kansas City, and will be looking to open his account for the season nice and early.
KEY OPTA FACTS
•Red Bulls’ Caden Clark scored his third career goal at just 17 years, 10 months, and 22 days old on Saturday against Kansas City.
•The last Red Bulls player to score three times before their 18th birthday was Jozy Altidore, who did so at 17 years, 6 months, 19 days in 2007.
•The Galaxy have not won their first two matches of a season since 2010 when they beat New England Revolution and Chivas USA.
•The Red Bulls have lost their first two matches of a season only twice since 2000, doing so in 2012 and 2016.
•The Red Bulls have won their last two matches against the Galaxy, both 3-2 victories. New York’s only three-match winning streak over the Galaxy came in the 2004 season.