The Los Angeles Galaxy hope replacing one international superstar with another will help return the club to glory.
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez makes his MLS debut on Saturday when the Galaxy visit the Houston Dynamo, who begin the Tab Ramos era on the touchline.
In trying to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 regular-season goals over two MLS seasons. Los Angeles needed to fill that major offensive void and make a splash in the process.
Enter "Chicharito," the 31-year-old Mexican star who has capped in Liga MX, La Liga, Bundesliga and the Premier League.
"It's a very exciting atmosphere; we are very excited the season is going to start," Hernandez told the Galaxy's official website. "We're going to challenge ourselves to see where we are.
"I want to come here to win championships. That's the main idea."
The Galaxy have gone five seasons without a title since winning three in four years from 2011-14. They returned to the playoffs in 2019 after missing out the previous two seasons, but allowed a hefty 59 goals while going 16-15-3 -- finishing fifth in the Western Conference and losing to rival Los Angeles FC in the second round.
Talented midfielder Jonathan dos Santos and young forward Cristian Pavon are also expected to a play significant role again this season. The Galaxy split their two games with the Dynamo in 2019, but they are 0-2-1 in their past three games at Houston.
The Dynamo opened 6-1-1 in 2019, but won six times the rest of the way. Their 2-15-0 record on the road played a big part in them finishing 10th in the conference, but under first-year coach and U.S. men's national team legend Ramos, Houston eyes a fourth straight home win Saturday.
"I feel good where we are," Ramos, the first-ever player to sign with MLS, told the league's official website. "I feel good about the way we've trained and I feel good about how we have prepared for this game."
Mauro Manotas (13 goals in 2019) and Alberth Elis (nine goals) return for the Dynamo, who welcome Darwin Quintero to the fold. Quintero had 21 goals the past two seasons for Minnesota United FC.
--Field Level Media