CARSON, Calif. — With Romain Alessandrini out until September following knee surgery, the LA Galaxy's search for an attacking player — their primary aim in the transfer market — has become more pronounced, even as they proclaim their confidence with the available flank options.
Alessandrini underwent a procedure Thursday to repair the meniscus root in his left knee, an injury he sustained the Galaxy's victory two weeks ago over Philadelphia, and the prognosis has him on the sideline for at least four months.
The Galaxy, who are home Sunday against Real Salt Lake (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada), already had targeted an attacking player — either in MLS's primary transfer window, which ends May 7, or this summer's secondary window, which opens July 9 — after Ola Kamara's departure for China and Giovani dos Santos' contract buyout just before the season began. The sooner the better.
“We've looked at offensive pieces ... because our needs have been partly offensive,” general manager Dennis te Kloese told media during LA's training session Friday morning at Dignity Health Sports Park. “With everything that went into those moves [involving Kamara and dos Santos], we were able to create some possibilities in the midfield with [the acquisition of] Joe Corona, with [Costa Rican center back] Giancarlo [Gonzalez] coming in, and I think it's part of a puzzle you're trying to create here to be strengthening everything.
“But an offensive piece, even before this transfer window ends, would be very welcome.”
Emmanuel Boateng has played primarily in Alessandrini's spot since the injury and likely continues to be the first choice on the left flank. Chris Pontius also can step onto the wing and Uriel Antuna, LA's starting winger on the right, can, of course, play on either side. The 30-year-old Frenchman's absence could alter how the Galaxy attack.
Head coach Guillermo Barros Schelotto was asked what changes tactically.
“I don't know,” he replied. “He's very important for us — he's DP — but we need to figure out with other player we have on the list and we have to work and maybe make some different tactics or no, but we need to figure out.”
Alessandrini, who has 24 goals and 22 assists in 61 games over two-plus seasons, has been LA's most consistent attacking player, Zlatan Ibrahimovic aside, but has endured several injuries last year and this season. He missed two games after hurting a hamstring early in this year's opening-day victory over Chicago.
“We know what we are losing,” Schelotto said, “but we are confident with other players.”
Te Kloese said the Galaxy “were already scouting, and we've pinned down a lot of candidates” who can help the team's attack.
“We're looking for somebody who can play different positions, because it makes it easier,” said the Dutchman, who took charge during the offseason. “You see that when you start traveling, you see when you start having games midweek, that sometimes with somebody off or an injury or whatever reason, you go in quite deep into your roster. So the more versatile the player can be, the better it is.”
The Galaxy also have decisions to make on the backline. Teen Julian Araujo, who has started at right back the past two games in place of injured Rolf Feltscher, sustained a sprained ankle during Wednesday's scoreless draw at Minnesota United. Schelotto said he was possible for Sunday and that a decision wouldn't be made until following Saturday's training session, but “he's young, maybe I want to put on the field [against] Salt Lake [only if he's] 100 percent.”
Feltscher, who suffered a groin injury against Philadelphia, was running on the sidelines Friday, and Schelotto said he expected the first-choice right back to increase his activity Saturday and would then know whether “he can play Sunday.” Other options include Dave Romney or moving Jorgen Skjelvik over from the left side with either Romney or Diedie Traore taking that spot.
Midfield general Jonathan dos Santos is dealing with a neck ailment, but Schelotto said he “should be able to go” against Real Salt Lake.