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Focus on Chicharito when Galaxy visit Sounders

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Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez vowed to be better this season after scoring just twice last year for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

So far, he has more than lived up to his promise.

Hernandez has won the first two MLS player-of-the-week awards this season and has a league record-tying five goals through two games for the Galaxy (2-0-0, 6 points), who play Sunday night at defending Western Conference champion Seattle (1-0-1, 4 points).

“The past, we’re not going to change that,” Hernandez said. “Right now I’m very focused on the present.”

Hernandez scored twice in a season-opening 3-2 victory at Miami and added a hat trick in a 3-2 win at home last weekend against the New York Red Bulls. His five goals through two games equaled the MLS record set by Houston’s Brian Ching in 2006. Chicago’s Ante Razov holds the three-game record with six goals in 1999.

The Galaxy, under new coach Greg Vanney, have won their first two games of the season for the first time since 2010, thanks to Hernandez.

“He’s on fire,” Galaxy defender Jorge Villafana said. “Once that energy gets out there, it pumps us up.”

Even Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer can appreciate what the 32-year-old Hernandez has accomplished thus far.

“Look, the guy got beat up last year because it cost a lot of money to bring him over here,” Schmetzer said. “Was it all his fault, was there some issues with the entire team? It’s not just a one-man game; he had other issues that he was dealing with. It’s a great story for MLS, it’s a great story for the Galaxy, but it’s even a better story for Chicharito.”

The Sounders opened with a 4-0 home victory against Minnesota, the team they beat in last year’s conference final, then earned a 1-1 draw at Los Angeles FC. They played both those games without captain Nicolas Lodeiro, their playmaking midfielder, because of a strained left quadriceps. Schmetzer said he expects Lodeiro to make his season debut Sunday.

The Sounders have lost just one of their past 22 home matches (17-1-4), including playoffs, dating to August 2019.

–Field Level Media

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