Week 2 of the 2020 Major League Soccer season is in the books, and so far, so good. There was Mexican goals aplenty this week, from D.C. to Los Angeles. But one particular Mexican player remains without a goal, and some are starting to get worried. Where are you Chicharito? Here are three things we learned from the second week of MLS.
The opportunities will be there for both Pizarro and Pulido
Inter Miami might not end up fighting for the title, but you have to think Rodolfo Pizarro will continue to find ways to become a relevant character in this league. On Saturday, Pizarro scored his first goal for Inter Miami in a game his side ultimately lost to D.C. United by a score of 2-1. It was your typical Rodolfo Pizarro goal. The kind we got used to in his time at Chivas where he learned to be a killer inside the box under Matias Almeyda.
Speaking of which, there is something about this Inter Miami side that reminds you a little of the San Jose Earthquakes of last year. With Diego Alonso at the helm, Inter Miami have a distinct style of play that is clear for everybody to see, but like the Earthquakes found out last season, playing beautiful football can only get you so far. Inter Miami will face a lot of trials and tribulations this season. That’s a fact. But given their style of play, the shots on target and the opportunities will be there for Pizarro. He is undoubtedly the best offensive player on their roster, and while his team might not end up getting the results they want, Pizarro is primed for more goalscoring days like this one.
In contrast, Alan Pulido is both in a position to score goals and watch his team win games. Pulido helped Sporting Kansas City to their second win of the season by notching both a goal and an assist in the team’s home debut against the Houston Dynamo.
From the moment Pulido’s signing with Sporting KC was announced, he just seemed tailor-made for this league. That’s now two goals in two games for the Mexican striker, and if you had him scoring more goals than Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez at the end of the season, you have to be feeling really good right now.
Sporting KC is looking like a real threat this season, and it will be interesting to see just how well Pulido and his new team handle one of Major League Soccer’s best when they take on Atlanta United next week.
Chicharito’s rough start continues
Nobody expected it to be a piece of cake, but that’s now two games without a goal for Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. To put it simply, the stage was perfectly set for a Chicharito goal and an LA Galaxy win in their first home game of the season against the Vancouver Whitecaps, but the Canadian side had different plans, shocking the five-time MLS champs to a 1-0 victory.
Perhaps what’s most worrying thing here is not that Chicharito didn’t score, it was the performance itself. Chicharito basically went unseen for most of the match. To be fair, the rest of his teammates didn’t have much of a performance either, and Jonathan dos Santos exiting the match at halftime didn’t do much to help the Galaxy’s chances.
As coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto emphasized at the end of the match, Chicharito’s goal will come. The problem is that the team’s interior play remains a dud, while all their strong play from wide positions, especially through the fullbacks, always seems to end in a wasteful cross. Even in a team-first approach, Chicharito needs to get touches in order to create spaces for his teammates. He didn’t do that against Vancouver. If Chicharito isn’t scoring goals and isn’t doing his usual clever things off the ball, then life is only going to get more difficult for the Galaxy.
Vela and LAFC get ready for Cruz Azul with six-goal thriller
What better way to get ready for the match against Cruz Azul than with a six-goal thriller? On Sunday, LAFC had to come back from a goal down on three occasions to earn a 3-3 draw at home against the Philadelphia Union.
It was a wild one at the Banc of California Stadium, and yes, there was a Carlos Vela golazo somewhere in there, along with a ridiculous free kick from the Union’s Jakob Glesnes.
If anything can be taken away from this game, apart from the obvious that Vela is good at football, is that confidence is high for the Black and Gold. As coach Bob Bradley highlighted at the end of the match, this sets them up nicely for their match against Cruz Azul. Conceding three goals isn’t exactly a manager’s dream, but it takes real mental fortitude to come from a goal down thrice and still come out with a point. As mentally and physically taxing this match was for LAFC, they have to really like their chances now of at least getting something positive at home against the current Liga MX league leaders.