Ricketts, Whitecaps ruin Chicharito’s home debut with Galaxy

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Tosaint Ricketts and the Vancouver Whitecaps spoiled Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s home debut with the LA Galaxy.

Ricketts’ goal in the 74th minute gave the Whitecaps a 1-0 victory Saturday night in front of a standing-room only crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park. Many of them left as disappointed and frustrated as Chicharito, who was hardly a factor for the second straight game.

The Mexican superstar, who was Major League Soccer’s biggest offseason signing, did not speak to reporters after the game. He has only two shots in his first two games, with none on goal.

“Everyone is waiting for the Chicharito goal. I’m more worried about the result tonight than if Chicharito scored or not,” coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto said after the Galaxy fell to 0-1-1. “We expect he will score in the next game. We couldn’t find him.”

Vancouver coach Marc Dos Santos lauded his midfielders for being able to keep Chicharito and the Galaxy forwards in check.

“We tried to control the first 15 minutes the best we could by not backing off. If you don’t come into big games and you don’t set the tone, big teams like the Galaxy are going to slowly impose their game,” Dos Santos said.

The Whitecaps (1-1) got on the board when defender Ali Adnan made a nice run up the right side of the box and made a perfect centering pass to Ricketts, who put it past goalkeeper David Bingham.

“I saw Ali getting down the line like he usually does. I found a pocket and put it far post,” said Ricketts, who has four goals in his career against the Galaxy.

Bingham kept the Galaxy in the game in the 89th minute when he stopped Lucas Cavallini’s penalty kick with his right foot for his third save of the night. LA played the final 15 minutes short-handed after Joe Corona received his second yellow card.

Vancouver’s best chance in the first half came in the 26th minute, when Andy Rose’s header off a set piece hit the crossbar.

The Galaxy had the edge in possession but only one shot on goal, which came from Cristion Pavon in the 47th minute.

LA’s Sacha Kljestan had an open net during the 24th minute after Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and defender Janio Bike got mixed up on a clearing pass. But Kljestan’s strike from just outside the box went wide left.

“There was a lot of energy in the crowd and we wanted to start on the right foot, but we leave very disappointed,” Kljestan said. “I think the biggest was not being able to create enough clear chances. When you are playing at home against a team sitting back, that is never good enough.”