The debut MLS campaign for LA Galaxy forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez hasn't gone exactly to plan so far, but when it comes to getting the team's top offseason acquisition rolling, Galaxy midfielder Jonathan dos Santos says it's just a matter of time.
Speaking on a Friday video call with reporters ahead of the Galaxy's match against the Seattle Sounders on Sunday (10:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info), dos Santos preached patience with Hernandez as he continues to acclimate to MLS, saying that he's fully confident that the goals will come. Hernandez has just one goal across 419 MLS minutes in 2020, but was slowed by a calf injury suffered at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando and is only recently getting back up to full speed.
"He hasn’t played a lot of games with us," dos Santos said. "But we know that Chicharito will be a very important player. I know him and I know that he will score goals, 100 percent. But we need to have patience with him. He’s just recovering from his injury, he was out for 2-3 months. But he’s good, he’s happy to be here, he’s in shape. We just have to have patience with him because I know that he’s going to score goals and he’s going to be the most important player for us."
Getting Hernandez going at the level he's shown he's capable of throughout his career would certainly be a massive boon for a Galaxy squad that is going into the Seattle match having lost two straight games, both 2-0 results against the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake.
The pair of defeats came after their hottest run of form of the season — a 4-0-0 run stretch from August 22 to September 6 that saw them outscore their opponents 11-4. Dos Santos said he believes that run represents what the team can be, and that the focus against the defending champion Sounders has to be on recapturing that form.
"I think we have to keep doing the same things that we were doing the last few weeks," he said. "I think the team had amazing [performances]. It's true that the last game, we played really good the first half and the second half I don't know what happened, our energy was low. But I feel confident. I feel the team is really good. We have to keep doing same thing, of course we have to get better the next game. There's no [excuse] when you play away, because every game is different, is difficult. But we know that this year we are more as a team, we play more together, defensively and offensively. Sunday's a good test because we are playing against a really good team, the last champions. So I think the team is going to get better in the next game."
Getting the team to full strength would figure to be the pivotal first step in accomplishing that. Hernandez played 80 minutes against RSL after coming off the bench in the previous two games, suggesting that he's close to full strength. Dos Santos, meanwhile, has been on the mend from hernia surgery himself and has seen his minutes managed in recent weeks as he works his way back. But he played a season-high 73 minutes while starting the RSL match, and said on Friday he's inching ever closer to 90-minute fitness.
"I'm feeling really good," dos Santos said. "It's true that I've been suffering the last few weeks because of my injury but right now finally I'm seeing the light. I can say that I'm almost 100 percent. The last game I felt really good. It's true that I'm not in shape because it's not the same playing the second half as the first half. But I'm almost there. I'm happy. Jonathan is almost 100 percent."