Chicharito Panenka flub costs LA Galaxy dearly: “I have to accept my responsibility”
From hat trick hero to what just happened? It’s the story of a critical Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez penalty kick deep into second-half stoppage time Sunday night.
The LA Galaxy roared back from a 2-1 deficit and had a golden chance to take three critical points against Sporting Kansas City at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Standing at the penalty spot was Chicharito, who leveled two minutes from full time on a converted penalty – his second goal of the game.
But the Mexican superstar had his audacious Panenka PK saved by SKC goalkeeper John Pulskamp as the Galaxy were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw.
PK SAVE: John Pulskamp, Sporting Kansas City – 97th minute
“It’s a mental game and I dared to take the shot, and the responsibility of not getting the two [extra] points falls on me,” Chicharito said postgame after his ill-fated attempt. “I accept it, one hundred percent.”
The Galaxy would have moved to within one point of the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs line in the Western Conference with a converted PK. They remain in eighth with six matches remaining.
Chicharito opened the scoring for LA in the 4th minute, but goals by Johnny Russell (PK) and Felipe Hernandez in a nine-minute span gave Sporting Kansas City a 2-1 lead.
Staring a crushing defeat in the face, Chicharito came to the rescue in the 88th minute, going high to power his attempt past Pulskamp.
But with a chance to win it in the 97th minute, Chicharito put his Panenka into Pulskamp’s arms.
“Unfortunately, I caused my team to drop two points,” he acknowledged. “But I’m going to keep on working. There’s no other way and I have to accept my responsibility.”
“He [Pulksamp] guessed right and that’s it.”