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Mexican soccer star Chicharito scores first MLS goal in LA Galaxy loss

Mexican soccer star Chicharito scores first MLS goal in LA Galaxy loss
Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored his first MLS goal for the LA Galaxy in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers Monday in Orlando, Fla. Photo courtesy of the LA Galaxy

July 14 (UPI) -- Mexican soccer sensation Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez scored his first Major League Soccer goal in a Los Angeles Galaxy loss to the Portland Timbers in the MLS Is Back Tournament.

Chicharito also missed a first-half penalty kick, which could have helped the Galaxy equalize instead of the 2-1 result Monday in Orlando, Fla.

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"It's not the greatest taste to score your first goal with a loss like this," Chicharito told reporters. "[Especially] when you miss a penalty.

"I told the lads [teammates] that this one was on me."

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The Mexican striker had his penalty saved in the 12th minute by Timbers keeper Steve Clark. The Timbers and Galaxy played a scoreless first half before Portland took a 1-0 lead in the 59th minute. Timbers midfielder Sebastian Blanco dribbled inside the box before he slipped a pass to the far post during that sequence. Timbers striker Jeremy Ebobisse finished the feed with a one-touch shot from about two yards out.

Blanco then doubled the lead in the 66th minute. His score capped off an impressive solo effort. Blanco tracked down a loose ball deep in Galaxy territory during the sequence. He headed the ball around a defender before he ran into the box. Blanco kept possession after he ran into a second defender. He finished the play with a rip into the far-post netting.

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Chicharito made up for his early miscue with the Galaxy's first score in the 88th minute. Midfielder Gordon Wild received a pass inside the box at the start of the play. He then cut back his dribble just before he reached the end line. Wild passed to his left and found Chicharito, who stood about five yards from the goal. The Galaxy striker finished the play with a right-footed shot into the near-post netting.

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"We finished this game like we were supposed to start," Chicharito said.

The Galaxy signed Chicharito in January. He spent last season at Sevilla, a club in Spain's La Liga. He also has played in England's Premier League, Germany's Bundesliga and Mexico's Liga MX.

"They rely on overlaps of fullbacks, being very aggressive in the wide areas to put crosses in," Timbers manager Giovanni Savarese said of the Galaxy. "They did that last year with [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. They do it a little bit different right now with Chicharito.

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"It was very important for us to make sure we doubled up on the outside to make sure that we follow the spaces and the runners in the box, especially understand the type of movement Chicharito makes. At the end I thought the guys did a very good job."

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The Timbers face the Houston Dynamo at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday. The Galaxy are scheduled to play rival LAFC at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday. All MLS Is Back Tournament games will continue to be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando due to coronavirus pandemic safety precautions.

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