K.C. hosts L.A. for chance at MLS Cup

with the exception of Zavagnin and Diego Gutierrez. "Since (Chris) Klein went down (with a knee injury), we've had two constants," Gansler said. "The others are guys who have shown their wares in practice, have shown that they're ready to come in and contribute in various ways." ... If Zavagnin cannot go, the likely change will be to have Jack Jewsbury centrally with Gutierrez. That could leave an opening for Igor Simutenkov or Francisco Gomez, or Gutierrez could again play on the left with rookie Khari Stephenson getting a second consecutive start. "We've adjusted based on personnel and teams we're playing to change the configuration of the midfield," said Zavagnin. "Whether it's a box (formation) or diamond depends on game-to-game. The key is to create pressure defensively and be a link to the offense." ... Stephenson was a surprise starter - after not starting a single league game, though he came on as a substitute in the first leg in San Jose. Still, he responded to Gansler's faith with the first goal in the comeback against the Quakes. "Khari's been coming on lately," Gansler said. "We thank the Jamaican Federation for inviting him [to a national team camp a month ago]. That all of a sudden picked him up. He's been as rambunctious in practice as he was in that game. He's one big horse, and a tough kid to handle." ... The Wizards have also seen goals from unlikely places lately. "We know it is an 11-man team, and everyone has their own roles, whether it is Josh and Davy scoring goals or if it's someone else stepping up and getting it done," Jewsbury said. ... There will be no question who is goal though: Tony Meola will not be available for the match.

It's certainly a cliche to say set pieces will be a key to the Western Conference Final, but for the Galaxy it's never been truer. The Galaxy haven't scored from the run of play since an Arturo Torres goal on Sept. 11, their last five goals (and both last weekend) all coming from dead ball situations. Three of those goals have come from corner kicks. "The chances are there, which is the most frustrating thing," said midfielder Peter Vagenas. ... If the Galaxy do score from open play, it's likely to be from a cross. The Galaxy scored nearly 40 percent of their goals from crosses, and all three of their goals this season against the Wizards in league play came from the flanks. Key to that will be how the Galaxy reverse their road form, where they won just three games and scored just 17 goals on their travels. "We try to protect our backsides," Sampson said, "which forces our back line to play too deep." Said right back Chris Albright -- who got forward to be involved in both goals against Colorado last weekend: "We're going to have to do the same things there that we do here to get a win," Albright said. "We'd rather be here, but we can go and get a win." ... The Galaxy are looking to become the third team to play in an MLS Cup Final on their home ground. D.C. United won MLS Cup 1997 at RFK Stadium, while Los Angeles defeated the New England Revolution at Foxboro Stadium in 2002. But it will require a road victory -- which the Galaxy have done just three times in their last 30 away games and not since June 27 -- and a win at Arrowhead Stadium against the Wizards, who they've beaten just once in their last six league meetings. "We know K.C. is tough on the road. It's going to take a huge effort on our part to win this match," Sampson said. Added goalkeeper Kevin Hartman: "We put ourselves in a an awkward situation by not winning the conference. Now we need to make up for it."

Stay connected: Get access to breaking news, videos, and analysis from North America's best soccer reporters via "This Week in MLS" newsletter or using our FREE mobile app.