Hernandez was brought in as one of the biggest signings of last year's offseason, but his impressive pedigree crafted over years of prolific goalscoring in Europe and for Mexico's national team didn't materialize in his first injury-hit MLS campaign, which saw him score just two goals in 12 games and the Galaxy miss the playoffs.
As he looks ahead to his second season in the league, which kicks off this Sunday with an away match against Inter Miami CF (Sunday, 3 pm ET | ABC, ESPN Deportes), the 32-year-old forward said he's nothing but eager to get back on the field and showcase his true ability.
"I don't have a word to tell you how motivated I am," Hernandez said on a Wednesday video call with reporters. "I'm very, very motivated, I think you all can see that in my social media, in my interviews, in the way I'm trying to improve myself in every aspect of my life. I'm very, very excited, very motivated and hopefully I can give my best and I can be my best version every single game so I can help my teammates and the coaching staff to do my part so we can win games, that's the most important thing."
Part of the reason for optimism that 2021 could be a turnaround year for the Galaxy comes from a potentially transformative offseason that saw new head coach Greg Vanney arrive from Toronto FC, where he built the Reds into a perennial Eastern Conference power.
From an individual standpoint, however, Hernandez has spoken openly this offseason about how he feels rejuvenated from a mental standpoint after a difficult 2020 that took toll on a personal level.
"I'm not a robot, I'm not perfect," Hernandez said. "It is a difficult topic to talk about, which I hope can be normalized, no matter who you are or how much money you have — it doesn't matter, we're all humans. Of course, our job as athletes comes with a lot of responsibility and makes you a very public figure. Your words have a huge impact, but you should not expect perfection from anyone. It doesn't exist.
"[Being vulnerable] is something I'm working on showing more," he added. "I hope soon we can normalize the fact we are all humans. It doesn't mean that being in this position makes me more valuable than someone else working here in the stadium or wherever. I want to continue to improve, to do what I'm passionate about, we need to demand it from one another, but that doesn't mean perfection."
His team still has to make it come to fruition when the games start, but for his part, Vanney said that based on what he's seen from his star striker on the training ground this preseason, Hernandez has the look of a player ready to make good on those personal objectives.
"It's something that involves the whole team, but on a personal level, it's about getting sharp in front of goal," Vanney said. "But that's coming as everybody's getting sharp at the end of preseason, into the season. I have a lot of confidence it's going to come. The fact that he's getting those touches in front of goal, the goals and chances are going to be there for him."