It was the LA Galaxy’s 2020 MLS home opener and the debut of new star Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, but the five-time champions could not rise to the occasion, dropping a shock 1-0 result to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
“Disappointed with the result,” said Guillermo Barros Schelotto. “I don’t think we deserved to lose today but sometimes in soccer it’s not about who deserves to win. It’s about who’s scoring. [Vancouver] have just one shot and they scored on the first shot they had.”
The stats say each team registered 12 shots with Vancouver hitting the target more often (4-1). What’s most concerning for the Galaxy is their big signing was limited to a lone shot for a second consecutive match, after making his MLS debut on the road in a 1-1 draw at the Houston Dynamo.
According to the LA Times, Chicharito did not speak to media following the match.
“I think everyone is waiting for the Chicharito goal and everyone asks me about if Chicharito does not score during the game,” Schelotto said. “I’m more worried about the result tonight than if Chicharito scores or not because I know he’s a regular striker. We have just two games that he could score, but we expect that he scores in the next game. We put the ball in the box a lot of times but we couldn’t find him. We will try in the next game.
“The goal for Chicharito will come by itself. You can’t force it,” Schelotto added later. “Or else then you’re only creating something that’s not important. The most important thing is the team and we have to work as a team. The goal for Javier will come on its own.”
Mexico national team and Galaxy teammate Jonathan dos Santos also expressed patience and confidence in the striker.
“He has to be calm,” Dos Santos said. “He’s been working well. I see that he’s excited. In the end a forward lives on this: scoring goals. It hasn’t happened for him yet. There’s a lot of season left. Hopefully in the next game he can break out and score a goal because I think this would remove some of the pressure on him which is important for him. Just stay calm. He’s an important player for us.”
Dos Santos himself was forced to leave the game against Vancouver at halftime with a quad strain, but both he and Schelotto are hopeful he can play when the Galaxy are the opposition for Miami's home opener next Saturday (2:30 pm ET | FOX, MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).
In another lineup move, Sebastian Lletget started on the bench in a “tactical” decision, according to Schelotto, after he made news during the week for his comments on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Joe Corona took Lletget's spot in central midfield and was sent off with 15 minutes remaining after receiving a second booking for a tackle on Russell Teibert, just one minute after Vancouver opened the scoring.
“We have to work on generating scoring options and managing the game better. And also working on finishing,” Schelotto said. “We have a greater potential than what we showed today. We can be better.”
Both Dos Santos and veteran midfielder Sacha Kljestan suggested the Galaxy may have been pressing a bit.
“The pressure is always there and even more when the results aren’t what we wanted,” Dos Santos said. “Today was an important game for us. We were at home in front of our fans. I’ve always said that losing these games determine whether you’re at the top, in mid-table or at the bottom. I’ve always said that every home game you have to win. But the season is very long. We have a lot of games and we know that we have to improve in a lot of aspects. We have to keep our heads held high because this does not end here."
Said Kljestan: "We’re not at our sharpest right now. I think we try to be really direct when we get into the final third and sometimes maybe we rushed a few things tonight when we got in the final third. So maybe a bit more calmness and the confidence will build as we go.”