Edward Zurga Jr./MLS/WireImage.com
making his first appearance after not playing in two matches -- then flicked to the back post by Jason Kreis (68).
Kirovski then doubled the Galaxy lead five minutes from the end when he bent a free kick around the base of the Burn wall from right on the edge of the area and inside Scott Garlick's near post, his sixth goal in four games against the Burn this season, out of eight goals in all on the season.
"Well, finally got we some goals," Galaxy coach Steve Sampson said. "That's been the missing ingredient for the last three or four games and both of them came on set pieces, but we still continue to create opportunities. We have a little more confidence (against Kansas City). We have the offensive ability to the get the job done, although we're not there yet, but defensively, we're starting to grow as a team."
Sampson made four changes to the team that settled for a 1-1 draw with the Wizards the previous weekend. Tyrone Marshall was away on international duty and Ryan Suarez suspended, Danny Califf coming back into central defense while Sasha Victorine played alongside him, Alejandro Moreno taking his place on the left side of midfield.
Arturo Torres came in on the right side of midfield for Cobi Jones, also on national team duty, while Alan Gordon made his first MLS start, coming for Carlos Ruiz, who failed a late fitness test.
Here's Sampson's team (4-4-2): Kevin Hartman - Chris Albright, Sasha Victorine, Danny Califf, Paul Broome - Arturo Torres (Josh Gardner 79), Marcelo Saragosa, Peter Vagenas, Alejandro Moreno (Andreas Herzog 61) - Jovan Kirovski, Alan Gordon (Joseph Ngwenya 73).
For Kirovski, the goals were his first since June 27. "It was tough to go through," Kirovski said. "But now is the most important time of the year. The way the league works, the playoffs mean everything. Now we're building momentum and playing as well as we have all season.
After seeing his effectiveness dwindle to the point where he had not played in two matches, Andreas Herzog came on as a substitute just after the hour and changed the match. "He added a spark," Sampson said. "The second goal, on the free kick, is usually a shot from that angle that Andy (Herzog) likes to take, and the fact that he gave that up and let Jovan hit, shows the type of leader that he is." Said Kirovski: "The wall wasn't set up that good. I spoke to Andy about it. I said, 'I'm going to shoot it because I see the wall sort of aligned wrong.' I hit it and fortunately it went in."
Central defender Tyrone Marshall will be suspended after surpassing the caution point accumulation limit against the Wizards. He would have served his one-game ban against the Burn last weekend, but under league rules, as he was away on international duty, the penalty was held off under league rules until he was again with the Galaxy.
Despite the injury, Ruiz was allowed to join the Guatemalan national team for their World Cup qualifying match against Honduras on Wednesday. He scored the game's only goal in the 44th minute - which the Hondurans bitterly claimed was offside - to book Guatemala's passage to the final six-team group in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
The teams are playing for the top seed in the Western Conference with playoff spots already secured. The Los Angeles Galaxy can take over top spot in the West only with a victory by two clear goals; otherwise, the Kansas City Wizards will ensure the road to MLS Cup 2004 must go through Arrowhead Stadium.
The Wizards are two points behind the Columbus Crew in the race for the Supporters Shield - in the case the two clubs end up tied after Saturday's matches (a Kansas City win and Columbus draw), the winner of the best regular season record would next be determined by goal differential. Yet a one-goal win by the Wizards would also leave the teams tied, meaning the award will be decided by total goals scored (currently: Columbus 39, Kansas City 37).
Following are the tiebreaking procedures if teams are level in the standings:
a. Head-to-head competition against all other teams equal in points, based on highest points-per-game average.
b. Overall team goal differential.
c. Total goals scored.
d-f. Tiebreakers a-c are applied to each team's regular-season road games only.
g-i. Tiebreakers a-c are applied to each team's regular-season home games only.
j. Fewest disciplinary points
k. Coin flip.
As of Oct. 9, here is how the MLS Cup playoffs would have looked:
SERIES A: (E1) Columbus vs. (E4) Chicago
SERIES B: (E2) MetroStars vs. (E3) D.C. United
SERIES C: (W1) Kansas City vs. (W4) San Jose
SERIES D: (W2) Los Angeles vs. (W3) Colorado
EASTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Winner of CLB/CHI vs. Winner of MET/DC
WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: Winner of KC/SJ vs. Winner of COL/LA
MLS CUP 2004: Winners of Conference Championship Games
Series A - D played under home-and-home, total goals format ... If teams tied on aggregate, 30-minute, golden-goal overtime period follows, then followed by penalty kicks (if necessary) to determine Series winner ... Higher seed holds home-field advantage for Game 2 of Series ... Conference Championship Games and MLS Cup, if tied after 90 minutes, determined by 30-minute, golden-goal overtime ... If neither team scores during that time, the series will be decided via penalty kick shootout held according to FIFA regulations
Series A-D - Game One
Weekend of Friday, October 22 - Sunday, October 24 @ LOWER-SEED home site
Series A-D - Game Two (+ 30-minute golden-goal period, if tied on aggregate goals)
Weekend of Friday, October 29 - Friday, October 31 @ HIGHER-SEED home site
Eastern Conference Championship / Nov. 5 / 6 / 7
Western Conference Championship / Nov. 5 / 6 / 7
MLS Cup 2004 / Sun., Nov. 14 - ABC / 3:30 PM ET - The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.