Galaxy in search of the perfect fit

Have you ever worked a jigsaw puzzle and ended up with that one piece that you just couldn't make fit? Convinced that it had to go in a certain spot, it's not until you switch it around that you realize it's a perfect fit for another part of the puzzle.

In the puzzle that is the Los Angeles Galaxy this year, Jovan Kirovski just might be that piece.

Galaxy boss Steve Sampson has a wealth of attacking options this year -- which increased even more Thursday with the addition of Landon Donovan -- which could mean that Kirovski might end up in several different places on the field until finding that perfect fit.

Not only that, but Sampson will likely juggle formations this year, searching for the option that works best for his roster. Last season Los Angeles played a 4-4-2, with Kirovski lining up as a withdrawn striker. Often times, Kirovski would end up so withdrawn that the Galaxy formation took on more of a 4-5-1 look.

Change isn't anything new to Kirovski. The former U.S. international started his career with Manchester United as a teenager. Between then and now, Kirovski has spent time in the Bundesliga as well as the Premiership, winning a Champions League medal along the way.

This year, not even Kirovski is sure where he'll end up on the field.

"I think I'll be playing more wide this year," he said. "It'll be interesting to see how we line up this year."

In their final tuneup of the preseason, the Galaxy experimented with a 4-3-3 alignment. That could become a familiar sight at the Home Depot Center this year. Most likely, either Alan Gordon or Naldo Conceicao will start up top as a targetman. Both Kirovski and the newly acquired Donovan could aptly fill the other two forward spots.

With several attacking options in the center of the park as well, Sampson is in an enviable position. With all the new additions to the lineup, Kirovski is champing at the bit for the season to start.

"I'm excited to have so many good players," he said. "I think the competition will make us that much better."

The Galaxy probably will go through some growing pains at the beginning of the season. With all the new additions to the roster, Sampson is going to have to find a lineup and a formation that will maximize the talent he has at his disposal. A key to achieving that success will be finding the right place for Kirovski on the field, considering the level of professionalism and experience he brings that few players in MLS have to offer.

Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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