What to make of the LA Galaxy?
The five-time MLS Cup champions have been one of the league's most Jekyll and Hyde teams in 2020, starting slowly and showing poorly at the MLS is Back Tournament, before rattling off a five-game unbeaten run without the services of their top offseason acquisition in Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez following the league's restart. But coming off their 3-1 home defeat to the Seattle Sounders in Week 14, the Galaxy seem to have reverted to their early-season struggling form, having now lost three straight.
ESPN analyst and former MLS player Herculez Gomez gave a shot at taking stock of the Galaxy's plight in a quick-hit interview, saying that at least some of the Galaxy's recent struggles are rooted in a disconnect between two of their most talented players: Hernandez and Argentine playmaker Cristian Pavon.
"Your two biggest players, Cristian Pavon, who's an Argentine international, and Javier Hernandez, who's one of the league's highest-paid players – they're not on the same page," Gomez said. "They don't look good when playing together. In fact, Cristian Pavon looks worse when Javier Hernandez is on the field. For whatever reason, he doesn't get to see much of the ball. This is a team that all of the sudden is very reactive. They let service come in from everywhere, they don't have the same intensity they showed when they were playing very well on that one loss in their last six games [stretch] without Javier Hernandez."
There's still plenty of time for the Galaxy to get back to the form they showed during that unbeaten run, but their ceiling seems sure to be capped unless they can get Hernandez going. That's not unthinkable given his track record, but Gomez said the striker's outward shows of frustration during the three-game losing streak suggest he's operating in unfamiliar territory.
"It's not all on Javier Hernandez. He seems to be clearly frustrated," Gomez said. "You see his body language every time [Sebastian] Lletget doesn't get him the ball, every time a pass doesn't go his way. It's negative. He's clearly frustrated. For the first time in his career, he's been asked to be the man. To be the face. At [Manchester] United, he wasn't, he surprised. At [Real] Madrid, he wasn't, he surprised. At [Bayer] Leverkusen, he wasn't, and he surprised. Finally things aren't going his way. I think Guillermo Barros Schelotto has a decision."