PASADENA, Calif. — Javier “Chicharito” Hernández is looking to add another feather in his cap after one of the most impressive seasons for a player from CONCACAF.
Fresh after scoring 20 goals for Manchester United in his debut season with the English powerhouse, the Mexican star has taken the Gold Cup by storm, leading the tournament in scoring with seven goals — and leading El Tri to the final for the third consecutive time. Despite his success, Hernández remains humble and asserts that he is no more important any other member of the team.
“I’m not a rock star, I’m not an idol, I’m not a hero, I’m only a human being and I’m about to play in the most important game of my life,” said Hernández. “I don’t feel like I am more or less than anyone else, I’m just a person, who plays soccer and for that I’m very happy.”
His humble nature aside, Hernández has quickly developed into the striker that Mexico has always desired in their quest to defeat their archrivals, the United States. Throughout the tournament, the man known as "Little Pea" has come up large for the Mexicans time and time again, scoring timely goals with seemly each part of his body — including one off his chest for the second goal in the semifinals against Honduras.
Preventing Hernández from getting service will be a major part of US national team head coach Bob Bradley’s game plan as he looks to lead the United States to the continental title at the Rose Bowl. The task of stopping Chicharito will fall to US captain Carlos Bocanegra, who has performed well since being slotted back to central defense after the Americans' loss to Panama in the group stage.
However, for Hernández, who will play in his first ever Mexico-US rivalry match, the only focus will be on his performance.
“What happened in the past was the past,” he said. “I’m here in the final of the Gold Cup and I’m just looking to do what I can to win the game. The only thing that I have in my mind is to give the best effort that I can give.”
Adam Serrano covers MLS for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on twitter: @AdamSerrano