Armchair Analyst: How Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez fits in the LA Galaxy attack

There is nothing I can say about Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez that you can't learn from this video:

Sure, it's been a few years since he was at Manchester United, but these are the kinds of goals he scored when he was there – almost entirely one-touch finishes in the box, be it left foot, right foot, shin, stomach, knee, hand, or a truly incredible amount of headers. These are the same types of goals he scored when he was on loan at Real Madrid, and when he spent two years in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, and when he went back to the Premier League for a couple of years with West Ham and this past autumn with Sevilla.

At one point, after one of the goals in the compilation above, the announcer calls him the "goal-poacher extraordinaire," and that just about sums it up. Chicharito is the best this region has ever produced at finding the tiny gaps between packed-in defenders and turning those momentary openings into goals. Because his balance, agility and instincts are world-class, he's done it everywhere (including this past autumn, when he scored a goal every 200ish minutes).

And now he'll be asked to do it in Carson, and it'd be ridiculous to bet against him. What makes Chicharito pretty damn close to a sure thing is that the way he scores goals is repeatable. Those spots from where he puts the ball into the back of the net? Those are the spots from where Chris Wondolowski has scored about 155 of his 159 career goals, and from where Josef Martinez has become the most prolific per-90 striker in MLS history (which makes sense since Josef is basically a Chicharito clone).

Chicharito will be there in the right place at the right time roughly, I'm guessing, 150 times over the next 34 games, and about a fifth of those will be goals. That's it. That's what the Galaxy are getting.

That's not to say that Chicharito can't or won't do other things. He presses well and he is fundamentally sound and smart about making himself an outlet when his team needs him to play that role. He won't break the game open from that spot with his passing, but he'll recirculate as necessary.

The thing to watch, though, is when he does drop back into midfield a bit and the center back follows him. Expect Chicharito to lay it backward and then immediately burst toward goal for a return pass into the vacated space. About the only goals he scores that require more than one touch come from sequences like that.

There were, of course, other reasons to sign him besides the goals:

If that's exaggerated, it's only by a little. We all know what signing Chicharito means from a business perspective.

Now it's incumbent upon the Galaxy – who will likely surround him with Argentinean, Mexican, US and Serbian internationals so, you know, just a little bit of talent – to consistently get the ball into those spots where the Little Pea has made his living over the past dozen years, and to do so in some sort of rhythm. Now it's important to make sure he's getting a chance to match his on-field to production to what you know will be a ton of (justifiable) off-field hype. No more "lump it to Zlatan and hope he can bring it down" or "just bend in a cross to the back post."

It's a different way of doing things now, and quite honestly a better way if they hit all their marks. There’s no secret to what he does, but there’s never been an easy way to stop it. If the Galaxy create any sort of consistent service, then Chicharito will get goals. He’s always done that, and he’ll keep doing that.

And that, more than anything else, is why the Galaxy went out and got him.


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