Chicharito celebrates his hat-trick with midfielder Samuel Grandsir (11). (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
NEW YORK – For the second time in eight days, LA Galaxy forward Javier Hernandez was voted the Major League Soccer player of the week Monday.
Chicharito recorded a hat-trick to lead the Galaxy to a 3-2 win against the Red Bulls at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Sunday night, the Galaxy’s second win in as many games to start the 2021 campaign.
Following his two-goal game in the 3-2 season-opening win over Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chicharito has five goals through the opening two games. He is just the second player in MLS history to have five goals through the season’s first two games, joining Brian Ching, who tallied five goals in the first two games in Houston Dynamo club history in 2006.
On Sunday, Hernandez put the Galaxy ahead after nine minutes when he slid in the back post to turn home an angled ball from Ethan Zubak, putting the ball inside the goal from the tightest of angles. In the 41st minute, Hernandez again gave the Galaxy the lead, finding himself all alone behind the Red Bulls back line to collect a cross from Victor Vázquez before driving the ball home through the goalkeeper’s legs. On the hour, the Mexican international finished off his first MLS hat-trick, latching onto a deflected cross beyond the left post before pounding in the ball from close range.
The hat-trick was the first by a Galaxy player since Zlatan Ibrahimović performed the feat Sept. 15, 2019 in a 7-2 win over Sporting Kansas City. Hernandez is the first player to win player of the week honors in back-to-back weeks since Carlos Vela of Los Angeles Football Club did it in each of the final two weeks of the 2019 season.
The Galaxy return to action this weekend again on national television, when they take on Seattle Sounders FC at Lumen Field Sunday at 9 p.m. ET (FS1 / FOX Deportes).
The MLS player of the week is selected each week of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio and online media.