North Of The Border
In May, 2000, Hernandez signed a three-year agreement with the Los Angeles Galaxy. To remain under the salary cap, the Galaxy had to give up several starting players and pay Monterrey several million dollars. Hernandez was also allowed to play for a Mexican team during the season.
Still, Galaxy and league officials thought the move was a boon to soccer in Southern California, with its large Mexican fan base. (U.S.-Mexico games played there usually involve a mostly pro-Mexican crowd, and American players have likened it to playing an away game.) Ticket sales spiked, though Hernandez drew fire from the Mexican media for going to the U.S. Hernandez, who joined the league midseason, found the physical play in the MLS an adjustment. "I know that there is more passion, more passion in other leagues," he told Soccer Times through an interpreter. "There are leagues that let you play and enjoy soccer. Here it is very hard and strong and you need to be up to it." "I have to work and put myself in the groove of this type of soccer," he added. "I don't have time to feel sorry for myself, nor should I feel sorry for myself. [MLS] is another type of soccer, and I have to enjoy it."
Hernandez, however, contributed little in his two years with the Galaxy. Robert Wagman, in Soccer Times, assailed Hernandez for lack of commitment and urged the Galaxy to sever ties after the star striker failed to show for the CONCACAF Champions Cup in January, 2001, in which the Galaxy and Washington's D.C. United competed. "Hernandez is being paid a small fortune, an amount vastly out of proportion to the minimal contribution he has made to the Galaxy, either on the field or by drawing fans to games from the team's large Hispanic fan base," Wagman wrote. "MLS strongly believes it must have a big-name Mexican player on the Galaxy to keep faith with the fans, and have thrown handsome sums to the likes of Herndandez, Carlos Hermosillo and Jorge Campos, only to turn a blind eye to the liberties that these players have taken at the expense of the Galaxy and the league." The Galaxy and Hernandez parted company after the 2001 season.