The Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez that the Los Angeles Galaxy expected last season has arrived in 2021.
The Mexican striker, who leads Major League Soccer in goals with six, guides the Galaxy into an afternoon match against expansion side Austin FC on Saturday in Carson, Calif.
Hernandez has already tripled his goal output from 2020, and has done so in eight fewer games. The Galaxy (3-1-0, 9 points) are coming off a 2-1 win over crosstown rival Los Angeles FC last weekend.
The Galaxy can score, but they have also been scored on. Los Angeles has allowed eight goals in four matches, and it's a focal point as the team prepares for Austin FC.
"I know we're going to want to keep the ball a lot, move side to side. We're looking just to try to break them down and score goals, man," defender Julian Araujo told the MLS website. "We want to score more goals and keep a clean sheet for sure."
Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney, in his first season at the helm, had good things to say about his Austin counterpart, another former MLS player, Josh Wolff.
Wolff's team is in the middle of an eight-game road trip to start its inaugural season, and Saturday will be the team's second trip to Southern California in less than a month.
Austin FC (2-2-0, 6 points) has used four different starting lineups in four matches. Captain Alex Ring won't play due to a red card from the team's previous match.
"I didn't have a ton of expectations for the number of points we'd earn, but two wins in four road matches is pretty solid," Wolff told the Austin American-Statesman. "I feel like we could have a few more points, but I don't want to be greedy about it.
"Earning points on the road in this league is hard. We have four tough opponents left, and we need to keep getting better."
--Field Level Media