A week after leading LA to a season-opening road win with a brace against Inter Miami CF, Hernandez was at it again in his team's Sunday matchup with the New York Red Bulls at Dignity Health Sports Park. This time, Hernandez struck for a hat trick to account for all the Galaxy's scoring in a 3-2 victory, making him just the second player in MLS history to find the net five times in his team's first two games of the season (Houston Dynamo FC's Brian Ching first managed the feat in 2006).
"Really happy for him," Galaxy defender Jorge Villafana said on the team's postgame video call. "He had a tough season last year. Now, he's scoring. He's on fire right now. We want him to keep going like that with this rhythm and obviously we know the guys we have are going to back him up, give him the balls and everything, so we're working towards that goal and obviously once that energy gets out there, it pumps us up."
Chicharito getting back to the form that has made him the all-time leading goal-scorer for the Mexican national team would be an incredibly significant development for a Galaxy side that only got two MLS goals out of their star striker last year, in a season that Hernandez has admitted was difficult on both a professional and personal level.
The trio of strikes on Sunday were all the types of goals Hernandez has made his money on for years while becoming one of the most lethal in-the-box poachers of his era, which Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said was crucial for his team on a day where RBNY gave LA all they could handle.
"I thought he had put in a great shift," Vanney said of Hernandez. "What we needed to do today was get him in front of goal and give him opportunities because it wasn't about possession and we were scrapping through a lot of that game. It was about his opportunities and he took him well like the goal-scorer that he is.
"He was clever about his movements throughout the day. Again, it was a day of opportunistic actions more than it was anything else, and he gave us a good shift on the defensive side to help us when we needed it."
On a broader level, Vanney said that the pair of season-opening victories are evidence that the culture he's trying to establish within the club is slowly but surely taking hold. The coach is just starting out his first year on the sidelines for the club he used to play for after a distinguished run at Toronto FC.
"It's another character victory and sometimes you've got to get those, a culture victory, when you're starting to establish something," Vanney said. "It continues to add more belief, more character to the group, the culture starts to set in a little bit more. On the tough days, when you can win games, then you've got a better shot when you have your good days too because you have that baseline work rate to get you through the tough days.
"We're two games in and we have six points and I don't think anyone else in the league has six points yet. So that for us is a good start. We have to remember what got us here, because what got us here those two games was really just hard work and sacrifice for one another and some execution in key moments. We need to continue to grow and get better as we move forward."