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 three games against the Burn this season, out of eight goals in all on the season.
Scott Garlick - Carey Talley, Steve Jolley, Matt Behncke, Milton Reyes - Ronnie O'Brien, Oscar Pareja (Ramon Nunez 71), Simo Valakari (Jordan Stone 87), Brad Davis (Toni Nhleko 57) - Jason Kreis, Bobby Rhine
Burn boss Colin Clarke made five changes to the team that lost 2-0 to the New England Revolution the previous weekend at Gillette Stadium. Cory Gibbs was away on international duty as Clarke started a all-chance central defense partnership of Steve Jolley and Matt Behncke, Clarence Goodson returning to the substitutes bench.
Eric Quill and Toni Nhleko couldn't return from illness and injury respectively, Brad Davis and Bobby Rhine coming back into the team, while Oscar Pareja also came into the team with Eddie Johnson away on national team duty.
Here's Clarke's team (4-3-1-2): Scott Garlick - Carey Talley, Cory Gibbs, Clarence Goodson (Oscar Pareja 80), Milton Reyes - Ronnie O'Brien, Simo Valakari, Eric Quill (Brad Davis 53) - Jason Kreis - Eddie Johnson, Toni Nhleko (Bobby Rhine 72).
Eddie Johnson had a remarkable first two appearances with the full U.S. national team. Against El Salvador last weekend, he came on as a 71st-minute substitute - then scored his first national team goal just four minutes later. But that was nothing compared to what he did Wednesday against Panama. After coming on as a 65th-minute substitute, he scored within five minutes - then completed a hat trick with goals in the 84th and 87th minutes.
Johnson became just the eighth player in U.S. international history to hit for a hat trick, and in 46 minutes at the senior international level, has four goals
Chris Gbandi made his full international debut, playing the entire match at right back for Liberia in their 3-0 World Cup qualifying loss to Senegal. Gbandi was born in Liberia but raised in Houston and had previously not accepted invitations from Liberia - but this time decided to join the Lone Star.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
The San Jose Earthquakes shared the points for the third consecutive match though their winless streak extended to six games, battling to a scoreless draw at home with the Kansas City Wizards last Saturday. The Quakes still managed to maintain their grip on fourth place in the Western Conference with 37 points from 29 matches, two ahead of the Dallas Burn - and with third place still a possibility, three behind the Colorado Rapids.
Wizards 'keeper Bo Oshoniyi - once again filling in for injured Tony Meola - made seven saves on the night, a number of them desperate efforts, to frustrate the chances of the defending MLS Cup champion in claiming the final playoff berth available in the Western Conference.
The Earthquakes hit the woodwork four times on the night, including a remarkable strike from Richard Mulrooney eight minutes from time that Oshoniyi parried onto the underside of the bar - and it somehow came down in front of the goal line.
"I thought it was in,'' said Brian Mullan. "I don't know how it didn't go in. Those usually go in. I saw it clearly that it didn't go in, but I thought it was in.'' Said Craig Waibel: "The soccer gods were working against us. I don't know what we did to them. Maybe they'll repay us next week.''
The Earthquakes have scored just three goals in their last eight matches, having now gone four consecutive home matches without hitting the back of the net (398 minutes).
"We could have and should have (won),'' Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear said. "If you look at the game, one team was trying to win the game, one team took chances.''
Kinnear made six changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in Denver the previous Saturday. With Troy Dayak suspended and Eddie Robinson and Jeff Agoos injured, Kinnear had to make three changes in his back four, Wes Hart, Craig Waibel and Todd Dunivant all coming in.
Ian Russell came in at right flank while Brian Mullan moved forward to partner Brian Ching as he returned from injury, Landon Donovan away on international duty and Chris Brown dropped. Jon Conway also came in between the posts with Pat Onstad also on World Cup qualifying.
Here's Kinnear's team (4-4-2): Jon Conway - Wes Hart, Ryan Cochrane, Craig Waibel, Todd Dunivant - Ian Russell (Jamil Walker 66), Richard Mulrooney, Ronnie Ekelund (Arturo Alvarez 79), Ramiro Corrales - Brian Mullan, Brian Ching
"I thought we deserved something more than a tie tonight," Kinnear said. "For 90 minutes, we pressed the issue. We attacked them up front, in both halves, and we didn't give up anything in the back. I told the guys after the game, if we take that sort of effort to Dallas, something good will happen. I couldn't have asked for any more."
Over the past eight games, Kinnear has been able to rely on his first-choice strike partnership of Donovan and Ching just three times - and in those games, the Quakes have lost twice and tied one, scoring just one goal. He been without both players twice - a win and a loss (one goal scored). And he has had just one on three occasions - all three draws (the last three games, when San Jose has scored one goal).
Ching was re-signed to a multi-year contract by the league before the Wizards match.
On Wednesday, with Claudio Reyna out through injury, Landon Donovan was selected to captain the USA in their World Cup qualifier against Panama. "The second-highest honor is playing for your country, and the highest is wearing the armband for your country,'' Donovan said. "I knew I was going to be ready. It shows the players have confidence in me.''
Donovan then scored the USA's first two goals on their way to a 6-0 rout of Panama, securing their berth in the final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF.
Dwayne DeRosario scored for Canada on Wednesday against Costa Rica to give the Maple Leafs an early lead, but it did hold up as the Central Americans raced to a 3-1 victory, ending any chance of Canada advancing to the final round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying.
PLAYOFF SCENARIOSIt is very simple: The fourth and final Western Conference playoff berth is on the line. The Dallas Burn must win to finish fourth (winning the head-to-head season series), while the San Jose Earthquakes will advance with a draw or victory.
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.