LA Galaxy

Greg Vanney hails impact of 'savvy' Chicharito in LA Galaxy draw vs Sounders

Chris Smith
Chicharito has scored 15 goals in just 1,646 minutes this season.
Chicharito has scored 15 goals in just 1,646 minutes this season. / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Vanney has hailed the impact of Chicharito following his goalscoring return to action in the LA Galaxy's 1-1 draw away at the Seattle Sounders on Monday.

The Mexican striker missed the 2-0 defeat to Sporting Kansas City last week due to illness, but was cleared to travel to Lumen Field for the Galaxy's key clash with Seattle.

Chicharito certainly made his presence felt, scoring an instinctive backheel to give the Galaxy a 1-0 lead inside 19 minutes - his 15th goal of the season. That was just a small part of an extremely busy night for the 33-year-old, who created two chances, won two aerial duels, and made three tackles.

It was this overall contribution and Chicharito's ability to be a leader for the team that impressed Vanney.

“He’s a guy that can independently think on the field and read situations and recognize what’s dangerous in games when you need that," the Galaxy head coach told reporters after Monday's match. "When things are adapting, and the other team is moving players into different areas of the field, he was super committed to not allowing midfielders to get on the ball and face forward between lines and the work that he was doing on the defensive side to condense space and crowd them up was enormous for us.

"His ability to hold up play sometimes when we needed to get out in transition because we were sitting in a lower block was huge for us. He’s savvy, he’s smart, he can adapt in the game and it’s important that you can do that.

"We missed that last week because it becomes very rigid sometimes with our younger players who are still learning things tactically. You almost need somebody around them telling them where they should be and that doesn’t happen fast enough. When he can do it on his own and people can read off of him, it just helps us such a great deal. I know he would have liked a chance to really finish it off to get the second one, but he did an incredible amount of work.”

Monday's draw leaves the Galaxy sixth in the West, two and three points above Real Salt Lake and LAFC just below the Playoff line - both sides have played a game less. LA's final game is at home to Minnesota United on Sunday, with the Loons just a single point above them in the standings.

Vanney has likened his side's Decision Day clash to a Playoff match, with no margin for error of the Galaxy are to make the post-season.

"This whole stretch has been really good for this team," he said. "I know it’s not been comfortable, but in terms of trying to grow as a group, we have to play in some of these pressure games and now we’ve got to play in a really big game, which is essentially a playoff game. It’s a knockout game. That’s what it is. It’s the old-fashioned and move on, or one and done. This is going to be a great experience for this group of players together to go home and try to get this done.”