Without star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, LA Galaxy were still able to secure victory in the California Clasico, defeating San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 on Friday at the Stubhub Center.
In a match-up between two of Major League Soccer's strugglers this season, a searing Romain Alessandrini strike in the 82nd minute proved the difference in an otherwise dour game.
With Ibrahmovic suspended after his sending off in Galaxy's 1-0 win over Montreal Impact, Ola Kamara reverted to his role as the target man for Sigi Schmid's side – after scoring the winner in that match.
Despite having the majority of possession, Galaxy's best opportunities came in transition and after a goalless first half, Alessandrini had a penalty appeal waved away.
This edition of the Cali Clasico had an interesting sub-plot, doubling as the final audition for Giovani dos Santos to secure a place in Mexico's squad for this year's World Cup alongside his brother Jonathan, with Juan Carlos Osorio, the coach of El Tri, in attendance.
He was given 15 minutes to change the match and made an immediate impact, with a quick interchange of passes leading to Alesandrini creating space to put Galaxy in front.
The Frenchman finished with composure that was missing until that point, Andrew Tarbell with little chance in the San Jose goal.
Romain on repeat! May 26, 2018
In Friday's other two matches, Houston Dynamo fought from a goal down after a David Villa's opener to win 3-1 over New York City FC, while Maxi Urruti's 11th-minute goal was enough for FC Dallas in a 1-0 win against Toronto FC.
Third-placed Dallas moved to within four points of Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Western Conference, while New York City stay a point behind Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta United.
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