Chicharito is available for Saturday’s preseason match, but Jonathan dos Santos and Emiliano Insúa won’t be.
CARSON, Calif. — The LA Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez jokingly said Thursday he had nothing new to report since last Saturday’s Victoria Block party at Dignity Health Sports that drew an estimated 5,000 fans to the unveiling of the stadium’s new standing-room-only section and open training.
Actually, there was one difference for the Mexican international, and it was a big one at that. He finally received his work visa earlier in the week, which meant he not only could participate in full training with the squad but became eligible to play in Saturday’s preseason opener against Toronto FC (3 p.m., Dignity Health Sports Park).
To say he’s looking forward to donning a Galaxy jersey was putting it mildly.
“I’m not anxious, no,” he said after training. “I’m just very motivated, very happy, very excited to start doing what I love doing most — that is playing football.”
Hernandez, who joined the Galaxy from Spanish side Sevilla on Jan. 21 and became its third designated player (Jonathan dos Santos and Cristian Pavon are the others), had been limited to working off to the side while he secured his visa. But that’s now taken care of, and he can’t wait to get going.
“I’m very happy to be with the team and looking forward to the beginning of the season,” he said, referring to the team’s regular-season opener on Feb. 29 against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Stadium. “I’m looking forward to it … I’m very excited.”
Hernandez said he’s quickly gained favorable impressions of his new team despite the lack of training.
“Good ones,” he said. “Only positive things. I always try to speak very well about everyone. Even with me or Jona or Pavon, the other DP (designated players), to win championships, it doesn’t depend on those three, it depends on the whole team.
“Like the other teams I’ve played with, it has the capacity to do that. Some of us might have more experience, but that doesn’t mean we have more value. All it means is we have experience, and we try to prove that inside the pitch.”
Hernandez and his new teammates — with the exception of dos Santos, who is out with a suspected groin strain and new left-back Emiliano Insua, who left Thursday’s workout with a minor leg injury — will be facing a Toronto side that lost to Los Angeles FC 3-1 on Wednesday but has 4-0 and 2-0 wins over Colorado and UC Irvine, respectively, in other preseason tuneups.
Saturday’s Galaxy-Toronto match is the second game of a doubleheader that begins at noon with Chicago playing Colorado. Chicago, by the way, will face the Galaxy in another doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 3 p.m. at Dignity Health Sports Park. The opener that day will be Colorado against Toronto at noon.
Galaxy head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said Saturday’s game should give him a good indication of his team’s preseason progress.
“I want to see something more than the last two games,” he said, referring to victories in scrimmages against Vancouver and New England. “I think it’s a very good moment to check if we can do what I want or not.
“Things are going well, we are learning. But we need to see if we do what we’ve been talking about.”