Javier Chicharito Hernandez - LA Galaxy - February 29, 2020
Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Breaking down Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's debut with LA Galaxy | Ben Baer

A total of 90 minutes played, one shot, one chance created.

That was Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's stat line in his first MLS game with the LA Galaxy. Despite not scoring in his debut, the Mexican international did help his team earn a draw vs. the Houston Dynamo on the road on Saturday. While it's important to note that Hernandez failed to make much of an impact in his first match, it's obvious that Galaxy fans should not expect this to be the case for the rest of the season.

But looking back, just how ineffective was the striker? The numbers don't tell a pretty story.

His 33 touches were the fifth-fewest among any player to play all 90 minutes this weekend. Hernandez is not necessarily known for getting on the ball a ton — he's much better at finishing a play than starting one — but you would want him to get on the ball a bit more in what was probably a tension-filled day.

Strikers do tend to finish low on overall touches, as evidenced by the fact that three of the four players that had less touches than him were also strikers (Robinson, Ruidiaz, Cavallini), so that also makes his total not all that surprising. What's not a great sign is that just four of his 33 touches came in Houston's box. That's a lower total than the other three strikers mentioned.

It's clear that Hernandez's lack of involvement has nothing to do with his effort. He led the Galaxy with 24 high presses, 17 more than any of this teammates. What's clear is there was an inability to get him the ball in the final third. 31 times the Galaxy tried to pass the ball to Hernandez in the final third. They completed just four of those passes (12.90%). Overall, the Galaxy completed just 16 of their 53 passes to Hernandez (30.19%). Taking passes to Hernandez out, the Galaxy completed 73.58% of their passes in the final third and 79.48% of their total passes.

The attempted passes to Hernandez did have a lower expectation for completion, but not to extent of the differences we see above. You can see all 31 times the Galaxy tried to pass to Hernandez in the video below.

The discrepancy could be due to a number of factors including poor passes, poor decision-making, Houston's focus on Hernandez, etc. But even given all that, Guillermo Barros Schelotto's team will need to be more effective in feeding the 31-year-old if they want him to succeed.


All data provided by Second Spectrum

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