“The team is doing really well," Chicharito said Monday during a virtual press conference. "Last year we weren’t even half of what we’re doing now. And now we’re top four. I was out for 10 weeks, we had international guys. I think we should get more credit. I don’t think we’ve had the perfect season or want to celebrate, but we’re doing well.
"The most attractive thing is that we can do much better. I don’t think we’ve scratched the ceiling of how good this team could be. Imagine, we’re fourth in the conference in our first year with Greg and soon we’ll have our full team for the first time all season?”
At the beginning of the 2021 campaign, LA contended with pandemic-induced visa and travel frustrations in attempting to get several key signings in the country and available. Kevin Cabral, Rayan Raveloson and Sega Coulibaly were among those who experienced delays after signing. Derrick Williams was handed a hefty suspension at the beginning of the summer, while key starters Sebastian Lletget and Jonathan dos Santos headlined key absences due to the Nations League, Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers during this summer.
“We’re as close to healthy as we’ve been (all season), that’s for sure," Vanney said. "I’m excited about the group we have. We need to get to work, push our performances to a higher level.”
The Galaxy currently sit fourth in the Western Conference table after 23 games. They're seven points above the playoff line, hoping to hang onto a Round One home playoff match. First place in each conference gets a bye to the Conference Semifinals, then seeds two through four host Round One games. The Galaxy are four points ahead of the fifth-place Portland Timbers.
At the time of his injury, Chicharito was firmly in the Landon Donovan MLS MVP conversation. He's not focused on those debates but rather shifts focus to LA possibly booking a postseason return. They've qualified just once (2019) from 2017-20.
“I was away from nine or 10 weeks, our team did very well," Chicharito said. "Now I’m just trying to help. I don’t think I’m the solution, I don’t think I’m going to be the hero. I’m just one more player trying to do the best he can to make his team improve.”
The Mexican legend stayed involved during his rehab, trying to remain a leader even when he couldn't directly impact games. It's all in quest of another MLS Cup for the league's most decorated club. They've lifted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy a record five times, last in 2014.
“We all have our own qualities," Chicharito said. "I’m a loud guy, I like to speak and communicate. But everything is from a place of thinking what's best for the team. I don’t need credit, I don’t want credit. All I want is the sixth championship for this organization.”