Javier Chicharito Hernandez - LA Galaxy - February 29, 2020

Heading into the 2020 MLS season, great anticipation surrounded what the LA Galaxy’s front three of Cristian Pavon, Aleksandar Katai and Javier “Chicarito” Hernandez could accomplish. 

The former two certainly left their mark Saturday in LA’s season-opening draw (1-1) at the Houston Dynamo, with Pavon netting a highlight-reel golazo and Katai, acquired as a free agent after playing for Chicago, striking the post with an early header.

But, all things considered, it was a relatively quiet afternoon for Chicharito, who captained head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s side and helped deliver a sold-out crowd to BBVA Stadium. The Mexican striker, acquired to spearheaded LA’s attack in life after Zlatan Ibrahimovic, showed moments of frustration.

Chicharito was isolated somewhat, though did supply a great pass in the 74th minute to midfielder Sebastian Lletget. The cutback prompted a save from Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Maric, and Chicharito’s deft off-ball runs on Pavon’s opener shouldn’t be ignored either.

But his only shot, an 11th-minute effort from range, was off target and he registered just one positive defensive action, a clearance in the 53rd minute. Chicharito’s two dribbles were also both unsuccessful, further adding to a lukewarm game from the El Tri star.

Perhaps a more robust showing from Chicharito comes next Saturday, when the Galaxy host Vancouver at Dignity Health Sports Park (10 pm ET | TSN 1/4 in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US). It’d be an ideal time for Chicharito to open his MLS account, with pressure flowing after Zlatan’s 2019 campaign of 30 goals and seven assists.

For better or for worse, those comparisons will continually surface throughout the 2020 MLS season. It’ll be up to Chicharito to produce, as he so often did during a decade-long career in top European leagues, and improve the broader collective.