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LA Galaxy’s new signing Dejan Joveljic hailed Javier Hernandez as an inspiration as he prepares to get his MLS career started.

Joveljic starred with 20 goals in the Austrian Bundesliga last season and has signed for the Galaxy from German side Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 21-year-old will act as competition for Hernandez, who has scored 10 goals so far this season but has missed the last month through injury.

“Chicharito is an inspiration, it’s amazing to share the field with him,” Joveljic said. “I can’t wait. I met him, he’s a really good guy. I’m really looking forward to this.”

“He’s a finisher,” coach Greg Vanney said of Joveljic. “To be pretty frank, he has a lot of similar qualities to Javier. He’s a pure goal scorer, he’s thinking about his final runs. He’s tenacious in getting onto the end of things. He can finish with his left foot, right foot and his head.

“He’s a young man with huge potential. I think the only reason we had an opportunity to bring him is because COVID put the breaks a little bit on his career. It became a great opportunity for us. He had other options. He could have played in the French first division but he chose us.”

Joveljic may not be available for the Galaxy this weekend, when they take on Vancouver Whitecaps for the third time this season.

“This game is going to be the third (against the Galaxy) from 17 games played, so there’s not a lot more to tell our guys,” Whitecaps coach Marc dos Santos said. “The last two games were incredibly close. We expect another very close game against them.

“Maybe the different factor is that we played those two games in Salt Lake without the fans. Now there’s a fan component which could change the dynamic of the game.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

LA Galaxy – Sacha Kljestan

Kljestan delivered the assist in the Galaxy’s 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake last time out. It was the 83rd regular season game in which Kljestan had assisted, which is fourth-most in MLS history.

Vancouver Whitecaps – Cristian Dajome

Dajome’s eight goals are the second-most by a Whitecaps player through 16 games of a season, behind only Camilo Sanvezzo’s nine goals in 2013.

KEY OPTA FACTS

Vancouver’s last six goals have all been scored by Colombian players (Dajome 4, Deiber Caicedo 2), including Dajome scoring the last three.

Kljestan trails only Steve Ralston (109), Landon Donovan (100), and Brad Davis (99) in terms of the number of MLS games in which he has provided an assist.

The last eight meetings between the Galaxy and Whitecaps have been split, with each side winning four times. Vancouver has won three of its last five away matches in the series (L2) after winning just one of its first 10 matches at Dignity Health Sports Park (D1 L8).

The Galaxy have won their last three home games and have victories in seven of their nine home games in 2021. That is the most wins through the Galaxy’s first nine home games of a season since MLS added draws prior to the 2000 season.

Vancouver has won just one of its last 12 matches (D5 L6) dating back to mid-May, though five of its last seven games, including the last three in a row, have been draws. The Whitecaps ‘only win in that span was a 2-1 victory over the Galaxy in Sandy, Utah.

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