Brian Schmetzer was full of praise for Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez ahead of Sunday's MLS clash between the Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy.
After a difficult first season in MLS, former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward Hernandez has hit the ground running in 2021, scoring five times across the Galaxy's opening two games.
Hernandez's goals have propelled the Galaxy to 3-2 triumphs over Inter Miami and New York Red Bulls respectively, though they now face one of MLS' sternest tests in the form of the Sounders.
"Great story. I love it," said Sounders coach Schmetzer when asked for his view on the Galaxy's start.
"Chicharito - well done! You had a tough year last year. Congratulations. Five goals in two games - very good. We'll be ready for you! They're a good team, it's not just one player. They have quality players. It'll be a different-look LA Galaxy, so we'll have to be prepared for it."
Seattle drew with Los Angeles FC last time out, and Schmetzer is looking for a response.
"I posed a question to the group. Did they think it was a point taken on the road against a quality team, or did they think it was two points dropped? I let them think about that," he added.
"It's important for them to build confidence, continuity, all of those things, but I also want to challenge them mentally. I posed a question, we'll see how they answer it."
While Hernandez is flying high, the Galaxy have also moved to bolster their attacking ranks, bringing in Augustine Williams from LA Galaxy II.
"Augustine is a productive and talented forward who has shown his quality with LA Galaxy II," said Galaxy general manager Dennis te Kloese.
"He will provide good depth to our attack and we are pleased to add him to our roster."
Seattle Sounders - Cristian Roldan
Cristian Roldan has scored six times against the Galaxy in his career, more than against any other MLS team. The only other team Roldan has scored more than twice against is the Portland Timbers (four).
LA Galaxy - Javier Hernandez
Hernandez has already tied with former Houston Dynamo star Brian Ching for the most goals ever scored by an MLS player through his team's first two games of the season. With two more goals against Seattle, he would break the MLS record set by Ante Razov, who netted six times in his three games of the 1999 season for Chicago Fire.
-The Sounders have won their last two home matches against the Galaxy, winning 5-0 in 2018 and 4-3 in 2019. Prior to this run, Seattle had just one win in its five previous home matches against LA Galaxy (D3 L1, including playoffs), scoring a total of six goals in those games.
-The Sounders have lost only one of their last 22 home matches (W17 D4, including playoffs) dating back to August 2019.
-Seattle have scored at least three goals in 13 of those 22 matches, including in a 4-3 win over the Galaxy on September 1, 2019.
-The Galaxy have won their opening two matches of a season for the first time since 2010, when they started with four successive wins. The only other season the Galaxy won three straight to start a campaign was in 1996 when they won the first 12 matches in franchise history (eight straight excluding breakaway shootout wins).
-Hernandez is the fourth player to score multiple goals in each of his first two matches of a season in MLS history, and just the second to do so in each of the team's first two matches after Razov scored three straight braces for the Fire to open the 1999 season.
Updated May 1, 2021