Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez scored on his debut with Chivas Guadalajara and then in his first ever appearance at a World Cup in South Africa. Now you can add Manchester United to that list of debut goals.
It was Hernandez who earned the loudest ovation of the night at Reliant Stadium when he came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute. The crowd of 70,728 went even crazier after he gave them the goal they were clamoring for with just six minutes remaining.
“I really didn’t expect it [crowd support],” Hernandez said. “But I am very grateful with the people that live here in the U.S. that are always supporting us.”
In the 84th minute, Hernandez beat the MLS All-Stars' offside trap and ran onto a ball over the top from the Manchester United midfield. He positioned his body perfectly to loft the bouncing ball over the charging goalkeeper for his first goal in a Red Devils uniform. The play even brought out a rare smile on the bench from his manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“The one thing that defenders always worry about are players with speed,” Ferguson said “When you see his goal tonight, that’s an indication of that speed. The timing of his run, coming toward the ball, spinning. He’s going to be a threat to defenders, no question about that. Chicharito's run was outstanding, bent the run, timed it well, and lobbed the goalkeeper well. So I’m pleased with that.”
The debut by Hernandez brought on more high praise from Ferguson, unusual for a manager who rarely offers glowing reviews on players. In fact, Sir Alex says that the Mexican forward only has “little things to do” to improve his game but not much in regards to his technique.
The Manchester United manager announced after the match that both Hernandez and Federico Macheda will be remaining with the club this season while forwards Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf could very well be loaned out.
“I need to keep Hernandez, who just joined the club - that’s imperative,” Ferguson said. “You don’t play on just talent. You need something else, and they’ve got something else. And I’m pleased with that.”
Although Chicharito fever was partly to contribute to the record sell-out at Reliant Stadium, the madness will reach new heights when Manchester United arrives in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Red Devils have already announced that Hernandez will play a half for Chivas and a half for Manchester United in Friday’s grand opening of the Guadalajara club’s new stadium.
It will prove to be a whirlwind first week for the Mexican national team forward, who has only been with the club for less than 72 hours total after finishing his post-World Cup vacation. He is not in any rush to make grand proclamations following his celebrated debut.
“We have to take it step by step,” Hernandez said. “I am very excited, very happy, but I take all of this with a lot of calm. What I want to do is a good job, so that more clubs like Manchester United can keep an eye on Mexican players.”
MLS All-Stars manager Bruce Arena and New York Red Bulls forward Juan Pablo Angel both cautioned that Hernandez will experience a learning curve in the EPL but that having a manager like Ferguson will help set him up for success.
“He’s a fantastic player,” said Manchester United’s Nani, the player who Hernandez replaced in the second half. “His first game for United, and he scored a difficult goal. I hope he can score much more goals in this club and help us to win the league … I think he’s a very good player.”