Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez - LA Galaxy - Close up
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The numbers behind Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's lack of service | Ben Baer

We went over the issues around Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez's in his MLS debut against the Houston Dynamo last week. On Saturday, that problem continued for the LA Galaxy striker as the Galaxy lost 1-0 to Vancouver Whitecaps FC in their home opener.

For a refresher on what happened in Week 1, be sure to go back and read this ... alright, welcome back.

Matt Doyle did a good job of laying out the Galaxy's issues in his weekly recap, but here's an important passage.

They have crossed the ball a staggering 45 times from open play through 180 minutes, a per-90 rate that would be easily — EASILY — the most crosses per 90 of any team for as far back as we have Opta data (2010). The video above gives you a taste of how hopeful/hopeless (you can pick your own adjective, I don’t mind) the vast majority of those crosses have been.

Going back to last week's piece, a lot of the numbers referenced improved against the Whitecaps, but not by much. Looking at some of the cumulative data paints a grim picture.

Nine players on the Galaxy have been targeted by more than 50 passes so far this season. The top two are Hernandez and Cristian Pavon, who have each been targeted by 105 passes. The completion rate to eight of those players is at or above 70%. Of the 105 passes that have targeted Hernandez, only 38 have been completed. The 36.19% completion rate is by far the lowest of any player on the Galaxy and the third lowest of any player in MLS. Only passes that have targeted Gyasi Zardes (30.77%) and Lucas Cavallini (32.10%) have been completed at a lower rate.

It's not surprising that passes intended for a striker have a low completion rate, as those passes — especially in the final third — tend to have a high risk for an incompletion along with a high reward for completion.

Looking at passes that end in the final third, the most important part of the field for a striker if they want to score goals, no player has been more starved for service than Hernandez. Of the players who have been targeted by at least 50 passes in the final third, none have seen a lower percentage of passes completed to them. 

Player Passes Attempted to in the final third Completion % Expected Completion %
Hernandez 63 22.22% 43.54%
Zardes 74 25.68% 41.21%
White 51 33.33% 44.20%
Rios 51 35.29% 47.62%
K. Kamara 60 36.67% 42.39%

You can see in the table above that the expected completion rate of passes attempted to Hernandez isn't particularly high but the difference between the actual completion rate and the expected completion rate is by far the biggest of any player.

These problems are likely due to a number of factors, but there's no doubt that Guillermo Barros Schelotto has a lot of work to do to get his striker involved in the game.

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