Carson, CA. – LA Galaxy midfielder Romain Alessandrini had not scored since the regular-season opener March 4 against Portland, but the Frenchman picked a perfect time to end his personal drought Friday.
“Finally,” Alessandrini said with a grin after his goal in the 82nd minute gave the Galaxy a hard-earned, 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in front of a StubHub Center crowd of 23,118.
Alessandrini took control of a loose ball from just outside the half-circle at the top of the penalty area and let fly with a left-footed blast that beat diving Earthquakes goalie Andrew Tarbell.
“It’s a good feeling,” he said, “but the important thing tonight is the win.”
It has been a difficult year, to say the least, for Alessandrini, last year’s leading scorer with 13 goals and 12 assists. This year he had only one goal prior to Friday, he’s hit two posts in recent weeks, an offside call negated another goal, and he did not record his first assist until May 12 in a 3-2 loss to FC Dallas.
Part of his frustration stemmed from a vastly different lineup – the Galaxy underwent a roster overhaul during the off-season after finishing an MLS-worst 8-18-8 in 2017 – and he simply wasn’t getting the ball as often.
“I think it’s a constant learning process,” Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid said Friday, “but it’s also something because of the inconsistency of the players that are next to him. It makes it a little more difficult.
“He (Alessandrini) has a different guy in the middle of midfield sometimes from week to week. He’s also now, because we made so many changes at right back, with a different guy behind him.”
Alessandrini also may have been at fault for trying to force the action a little too much.
“I try a lot and I didn’t succeed with everything. I was frustrated and the team was frustrated, too,” he said. “Last year I think I touched more balls. This year I tried to be more focused to get the ball. My role is different this year; I try to adapt to it.
“Tonight was good for me. I just have to keep it going and get better next week.”
He also showed his defensive skills when he saved an apparent goal late in the game. San Jose’s Danny Hoesen, the Earthquakes’ leading scorer with six goals, tried a free kick that hit the Galaxy’s defensive wall. The ball bounced back to him and Hoesen responded with a second attempt which Galaxy goalkeeper David Bingham barely got his finger on. The ball caromed off the crossbar and landed just outside the goal line to Alessandrini, who cleared it away to help preserve not only the Galaxy’s second consecutive victory but back-to-back shutouts.
“It was a good save by Bingham, first,” Alessandrini said. “I was there to save the goal. I think I need to give that for the team every game.
“Sometimes I’m tired because I run a lot, but tonight I give more for the team. That’s the kind of player I want to be. It’s a good thing for the team.”