It wasn't difficult to find an obvious hero for the Los Angeles Galaxy in their 2-0 victory against the Dallas Burn on Saturday night. But there were some other heroes for Steve Sampson's team, all after finding their way out of unfamiliar roles.
The definite hero at The Home Depot Center was Jovan Kirovski, who scored both of the Galaxy's goals. The first came off of an Andy Herzog corner kick that was flicked on by Dallas striker Jason Kreis right to Kirovski, who was lurking on the back post and calmly headed home in the 68th minute.
Kirovski then made it 2-0 in the 85th minute after he beat Dallas 'keeper Scott Garlick with a well-taken free kick, bent around low around the wall from the right and inside the near post.
Every member of the Burn seemed to be awaiting a Herzog effort, which would have been normal from the right for the left-footed Herzog. But said Kirovski: "The wall wasn't set up very well, and I told Andreas that I was going to hit it."
But Kirovski was far from the only hero. Danny Califf and Sasha Victorine stepped into central defense and shut down a Dallas attack desperate for a win.
Sampson dubbed Victorine "Mr. Utility" after the performance. Victorine has figured on the left side of midfield, in a central midfield role and at right back -- all since Sampson has taken over the Galaxy.
"He played very well in the middle alongside Danny," said Sampson. "He helped us keep our rhythm going from one side to the other."
Right back Chris Albright had nothing but praise for his teammates as well. For Califf, it was his first start in five matches as Sampson seemed settled on a central defense partnership of Ryan Suarez and Tyrone Marshall, suspended and on international duty respectively this weekend.
"Danny's got all the experience in the world, that's what Danny does, and Sasha, you can put him anywhere and he finds his place," said Albright. "I thought those guys did a great job -- I know they bailed me out a couple of times tonight."
Lack of finishing had been the Achilles heel for the Galaxy in the past few games, but making his first appearance in three matches, the re-entrance of Herzog into the team turned the tide.
"The biggest difference was Andy Herzog coming on in the second half," said Sampson. "He hit a perfect driven corner, and had a great understanding between him and Jovan on the second set piece."
After picking up the vital points -- and with the Kansas City-San Jose draw at Spartan Stadium, the Galaxy now trail the Wizards by just three points. Naturally, in an amazing feat of foresight, the final opponent on the Galaxy schedule is the Wizards, the two playing next weekend in Kansas City.
"The way the league works, the playoffs mean everything. Fortunately we put the goals away this week and we're building momentum," said Kirovski.
In order for L.A. to take the top seed in the MLS Cup Playoffs, they need to win by two goals next week in Kansas City. When asked if that was an attainable feat, Sampson had just a one word answer: "Absolutely."
Greg Daurio is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.