Los Angeles, CA – These haven’t been the happiest times for LA Galaxy midfielder Romain Alessandrini, but he had reason to smile Thursday night against Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium.
The French international, getting a start after subbing in two of the last three matches, scored in the 82nd minute to ignite a spirited comeback that eventually resulted in a thrilling 2-2 tie in front of an energetic crowd of 22,716.
“It was a good feeling for me,” he said with a smile after he converted a pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and scored from 10 yards with eight minutes left in regulation for his sixth goal of the season that made it 2-1. “I like this kind of game.”
The Galaxy’s Ola Kamara tied it four minutes later when he intercepted a poor back pass by LAFC’s Andre Horta – who was making his MLS debut – and beat LAFC goalkeeper Tyler Miller for the stunning, tying goal.
“The last 20 minutes I think they were a little bit tired because we put more pressure on them,” Alessandrini went on. “We didn’t let them play.”
It has been an emotional season, to say the least, for Alessandrini, last year’s leading scorer who has had to settle for a secondary role behind strikers Kamara and Ibrahimovic. Alessandrini has made it known he hasn’t been happy with being forced into a relief effort lately.
“Every player wants to start the game. We are all competitive,” he said.
And nothing could stir his desire more than a rivalry like that of the Galaxy and first-year franchise LAFC.
“I play a lot of games like this when I was in Marseilles playing against Paris (Saint Germain),” he said. “It’s always exciting to play this game, like a derby.
“I tried to give everything, I scored a goal. The second half was much better for me and for the team.”
LAFC scored two first-half goals (by Carlos Vela and Lee Nguyen) and clearly had the upper hand when the teams headed into the halftime locker room. But Galaxy coach Sigi Schmid switched Alessandrini from his wingback position on the right side to the left, thus taking advantage of his accurate left foot, and the flow of the game changed considerably.
Alessandrini figured things couldn’t get any worse.
“We had nothing to lose,” he said. “This kind of game you try and give everything. When you’re losing 2-0 you have to wake up and give more for the team, and maybe give more energy.
“We have to come back, but I’m not sure we are happy with the result.”
But he definitely was pleased getting the start.
“For a player when you’re on the field you’re always happy anywhere,” he said. “You can play goalkeeper … you’re on the field, it’s good. I know (wingback) is not the best position for me, but I try to give what the coach wants.
“When you’re on the field it’s always good for a player. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It worked out for everyone, I think.”