Manager Wayne Rooney will try to shut down his former Manchester United teammate Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez when D.C. United hosts the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday night.
Rooney and Hernandez were club teammates for portions of six seasons at Manchester United in the last decade.
Now the 37-year-old Rooney is in charge of D.C. United (4-5-4, 16 points) in his second full-time head coaching position, trying to help the Black-and-Red rebound from a disappointing 2022 campaign.
There are already noticeable improvements, with D.C. United losing only once in their past six games.
Rooney’s club still is trying to improve its killer instinct after creating better chances but settling for a 1-1 draw at home to Nashville SC on Saturday and a 0-0 tie on the road against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday.
Team-leading scorer Christian Benteke missed the former game with a minor injury and his attacking teammate Taxi Fountas is expected to be out for a second straight game Saturday with a hamstring issue.
Despite the finishing struggles, Wednesday’s draw still marked D.C.’s first point earned at Philadelphia in nine years.
“I usually leave this locker room super pissed off,” D.C. midfielder Russell Canouse told The Washington Post. “I’m still disappointed we didn’t get more from the game. But a point in Philly, and the way we controlled the game, it’s not like we’re leaving here with a point where we weren’t in the game.”
Hernandez is in his fourth season with the Galaxy (2-7-3, 9 points) after leading the team with 17 goals in 2021 and 18 in 2022.
But he only has one goal this season after missing most of the first two months with a hamstring injury. And the Galaxy have struggled trying to build off last season’s fourth-place finish in the Western Conference.
Hernandez came off the bench in Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat at Columbus as manager Greg Vanney rotated his squad in the first leg of a quick East Coast trip. His entrance came too late after Los Angeles struggled with its first-half defense.
“In the first half, we just kept getting ourselves stretched out, and they were just able to play through us and play behind us,” Vanney said. “And then when you’re stretched out on the defensive side and you recover the ball, you’re not really in a position to help each other out when you actually win the ball.”
–Field Level Media
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