Javier Hernandez is hoping to be back on the pitch “soon” for LA Galaxy, who he insisted are the biggest club in MLS ahead of their derby with Los Angeles FC.
The Galaxy won 2-1 in the previous El Trafico clash this season, and now travel to their city rivals for a second showdown on Saturday.
While the Galaxy are in fourth, LAFC sit ninth and are in real danger of missing out on the playoffs after a run of four straight defeats.
Hernandez is still nursing a calf injury which has kept him out since June, but the former Manchester United forward is hoping to make his return to action soon.
“Soon, soon,” Hernandez told FS1 during the MLS All-Star match this week.
“It’s been a very difficult injury because I had an injury last year in a very close spot on my calf and we were struggling a little bit. But we need to take it very (cautious) as well. But I’m very close.”
The Galaxy have failed to make the playoffs in three of the last four years, and Hernandez is determined to avoid such a slip up.
“It’s the owners and ourselves, we all took responsibility to take LA Galaxy (forward),” he said. “It’s the biggest club in MLS and we want to prove that this year and the next months to come.”
LAFC’s Jordan Harvey, meanwhile, is relishing another derby contest.
He said: “From the first moment we stepped on the field and we had this LA rivalry, it was electric, It was just the craziest thing I’ve ever been a part of. I can’t pinpoint any game that has this much energy, this much anticipation and fire from the players that feed off the fans. You feel like the whole league is looking at this LA rivalry.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
LAFC – Diego Rossi
By his lofty standards, it has not been a good season for Diego Rossi, though he did score his first goal in over a month when he netted in a 2-1 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps last time out.
LA Galaxy – Rayan Raveloson
Rayan Raveloson is the Galaxy’s second-highest goalscorer in 2021, with five goals. In Hernandez’s continued absence, he might be needed to step up yet again.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– This will be the 12th edition of El Trafico in MLS, with the Galaxy winning the first meeting of the season, 2-1, at Dignity Health Sports Park. The Galaxy’s wins in August and September 2020 mark the only time either side has won twice against the other in a single MLS season (including playoffs).
– LAFC has lost a club record four straight matches as part of a club record seven-match winless run. Bob Bradley has lost five straight matches just once in his MLS coaching career, doing so with the Fire in July-August 1998 with the last of those defeats coming against the Galaxy.
– The Galaxy have lost consecutive matches for the first time this season, losing 2-1 to both Colorado and San Jose. LA has scored exactly one goal in each of its last five matches, winning twice, losing twice and drawing once.
– Carlos Vela, who will miss the match due to injury, has scored 10 times in eight matches against the Galaxy in MLS, averaging 1.53 goals per 90 minutes (588 minutes). The only player with a higher goals per 90-minute average against a single team in MLS history is Mamadou Diallo (1.65), also against the Galaxy (minimum 500 mins, including playoffs).
– The Galaxy have scored 15 times in the 11 matches since Chicharito picked up an injury. Twelve of those 15 goals were scored by players who were not on the Galaxy last season.