CARSON, Calif. — The 2019 season is just about done for Romain Alessandrini as the club announced surgery for the 30-year-old Frenchman, on Friday.
Alessandrini underwent a successful meniscus root repair on his left knee at the Kerlan-Jobe Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Santa Monica and is expected to return to the club in September — a full four months and a couple of days from now.
Ultimately, the injury could mean that the Galaxy’s Designated Player will be unavailable for at least the next 19 games in the best of scenarios and could potentially miss 22 of 34 total games this season.
And this comes after Alessandrini has played just 281 minutes in 2019, missed three out of the first eight games the club has played to this point, and didn’t make it past 25 minutes in two of the five games he’s started this season — all due to various injuries.
In 2018, Alessandrini also struggled through some injuries as he started just 23 of 34 games, played 1,920 minutes (out of 3,060 total mins or 62.7% of total available minutes) but scored 11 times and had nine assists.
Regardless of his absenteeism, Alessandrini is an integral part of the Galaxy’s offense and is one of the few goalscoring threats the team has besides captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
General Manager Dennis te Kloese had hinted at the Galaxy going after one or two more pieces to complete the roster, but it’s likely a replacement for Alessandrini will need to be found sooner rather than later. Especially when the Primary Transfer Window closes on May 7.
And while the Galaxy fought through a similar situation in 2017 when right-back Robbie Rogers was placed on MLS’ Season Ending Injury List (SEIL) — a list that allows a player who cannot play for the remainder of the season because of an injury — the optics and scale are different.
One difference is that Alessandrini is a Designated Player and the SEIL only allows a replacement player to be paid up to $250,000 if the Galaxy want cap space relief — way shy of Alessandrini’s $1,869,996 guaranteed salary as estimated by the MLS Players Union in 2018.
Additionally, the Galaxy would have to place Alessandrini on that list before the close of the transfer window on May 7 and also have the replacement signed by the close of the window, as well.
Te Kloese has already confirmed that the Galaxy expects Alessandrin back before the close of the year and that he will not be placed on the SEIL.
“No. There’s no thinking about it,” he told reporters. “He’ll be good before the season ends and second, it wouldn’t work like that with a DP player.”
For the foreseeable future, the Galaxy are going to rely on their already established depth at midfield to carry themselves through. That could mean to the summer transfer window, or it could mean all the way through to September when Alessandrini might be able to rejoin the club for the remaining seven games of the season.
Although, even that September return date is not
Chris Pontius, who recently recovered from a muscle injury to come on as a substitute in the Galaxy’s midweek draw to Minnesota, and speedy Emmanuel Boateng will look to pick up the slack for Alessandrini. But neither have the technical ability, nor the nose for goal.
The Galaxy will face off against Real Salt Lake on Sunday (5:00 p.m. PST; SpectrumSN) before entering a month of May. May will see them play six games in total, four of them on the road, and will involve two separate east-coast trips — not exactly the time to be down a Designated Player.