By Victor Munoz
After opening the 25th season with a 1-1 tie at Houston the weekend before, the LA Galaxy had their home opener on March 7 at Dignity Health Sports Park, but the Vancouver Whitecaps silenced the sold-out Galaxy crowd by defeating their team 1-0.
“There was a lot of energy in the crowd tonight and we wanted to start the season at home on the right foot but I think we all left very disappointed tonight,” said Galaxy midfielder Sacha Kljestan in a postgame interview.
The 26,382 in attendance saw a revamped LA Galaxy, as there were five new faces in the starting line-up. Among them the new sensation of LA Galaxy and the MLS, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez.
When Zlatan (who tallied 30 goals last season) departed from the Angelino city to embark once again on a European adventure, the Galaxy knew they had to bring in a new goal scorer to fill the void left at forward.
On January 17, 2020, the Galaxy announced the signing of “Seleccion Mexicana’s” top goal scorer and former Real Madrid and Manchester United player, Chicharito.
But enough with the Chicharito hype (because up to this point that’s what it’s been: all hype) and on to the game.
Up to the 73rd minute of play, there was little to no action, and it seemed like it was going to end in a 0-0 tie. But one quick instant was all it took to ruin the Galaxy’s home-opening night.
In the 74th minute, Vancouver forward Tosaint Ricketts received the ball inside the box from the left side and put the ball in the bottom right corner outside the reach of Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham.
Then, in the 75th minute, Galaxy midfielder Joe Corona was shown a second yellow card after stepping on Russell Teibert, resulting in a red card and leaving the LA Galaxy with a man down for the remainder of the game.
A penalty was awarded to Vancouver when LA defender Giancarlo Gonzalez brought Ricketts down inside the box. Bingham made a big save and kept the LA Galaxy within one goal, but the Galaxy was unsuccessful in turning the deficit around and lost 1-0 at the final whistle.
Chicharito did not address the media. But captain Jonathan Dos Santos came out and defended his compatriot.
“Chicharito is working hard, he is very excited to be here and is an important player for the LA Galaxy,” said Dos Santos. “Let’s hope he could score in the upcoming game so it takes off some pressure of his shoulder.”
The LA Galaxy also showcased their new safe-standing supporters section known as Victoria Block. The section, located in the north end of the stadium behind the goal, was built to improve the fan experience and atmosphere at the stadium.