‘Chicharito’ fit for Galaxy return, Mexico call-up


LA Galaxy head coach Greg Vanney said Mexican forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez has recovered from a hamstring injury and is set to make his 2023 MLS season debut this Saturday against the Houston Dynamo.

“He’s ready to go to Houston, now it’s just building up his match minutes,” said Vanney during a press conference on Wednesday.

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“He looks sharp, he looks good. [He’s] getting repetitions in front of goal now because when you have a hamstring injury you can’t do a lot of things in a high intensity and high speed. Now it is just repetitions and getting him ready.

“He’ll train full all this week, he’s trained partially [in] some of the last sessions. He’s gotten enough under his belt and his fitness level is good, so now it’s just getting him back into match fitness.”

The 34-year-old striker has yet to make an appearance this MLS season. Now recovered and ready to return to the field, Hernandez could also soon make a first appearance since 2019 for Mexico‘s national team in an upcoming friendly against the United States on April 19 in Glendale, Arizona.

Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer, who was left out of the 2022 World Cup roster by former manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, said last week that he has been in contact with the new El Tri manager Diego Cocca.

“I received a call three weeks ago from Diego Cocca to inform me that, like myself and all the other Mexican players, our doors are open and everything would depend on our football level and the decisions that he makes,” said Hernandez.

With the friendly against the U.S. landing on a non-FIFA date, Cocca will have to utilize a Liga MX-heavy roster, but also did not rule out call-ups from outside of Mexico’s top flight.

“We consider every Mexican player who is available to represent Mexico…We know there are many in MLS, many in Europe, and obviously in Liga MX. They all have the chance to represent the nation and to arrive [to the team],” said Cocca during a press conference on Tuesday, later noting that he’s recently talked to more than 45 players.

“I’m going to try to select the best players of this moment so that we can go to the United States and present a team and beat our rival.”

Before possibly earning a national team call-up, Hernandez will seek to revive a winless Galaxy side that has started the MLS season with a three draws and two losses.

Against the Dynamo (2W-0D-3L) at Shell Energy Stadium this Saturday, the forward will face fellow Mexico international Hector Herrera. Despite featuring for Mexico in Qatar and having no injury issues at the start of the MLS season, Herrera was notably left out of Cocca’s first national team call-up in March.

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