Chicharito - LA Galaxy - dribbling upfield

For the LA Galaxy to make forward progress during the 2021 MLS season, all signs point to Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez needing to increase his final-third production.

Chicharito has acknowledged that he didn’t meet expectations last year, and new head coach Greg Vanney has indicated that LA’s tactics could be geared toward getting more out of Mexico’s all-time leading scorer.

But what is a realistic goals-scored target for the Designated Player in 2021? The Extratime crew debated that exact question on their latest episode, with Matthew Doyle describing it as a fool’s errand to make any bold proclamations at this point.

“Honestly, we have to pass on answering this question because the team itself is still very much under construction, maybe more than any team in the league,” Doyle said. “The Galaxy have more holes right now than Austin and Austin is an expansion team. We just know so little about what this team is going to look like that you can’t even answer the question.”

During an injury-plagued MLS introduction last year, Chicharito scored twice in 12 games (seven starts). He struggled to replace the No. 9 hole that Zlatan Ibrahimovic left behind upon departing for AC Milan, contributing to LA missing the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the third time in four years.

But given Chicharito’s profile and past success, Extratime co-host David Gass is more optimistic that LA’s star striker will turn the corner in 2021. He took the over on a 15.5-goal line, which projects as a top-10 league-wide total during a complete season.

“Everything that Doyle talked about, which is what the Galaxy need to do to set Chicharito up, is all the things that Greg Vanney wants to do on the soccer field,” Gass said. “They’re the things he’s worked on with Toronto, they’re the things he’s desired and so I think the team will be geared toward setting him up in those ways. Whether they’re successful or not, that I won’t go with because they have no backline, but I’m going to go out on a limb right now and say I’m over on 15-and-a-half."

For more from Extratime, check out the latest episode here.