One of the reasons behind the LA Galaxy’s early-season success, players and coaches have said time and again this season, is the club’s stable of talent.
Injuries have sidelined different players this season but no matter how fluid the starting lineup has been, the club has not suffered because of it.
The latest player to slide into a starting spot and contribute instantly is Jovan Kirovski. The veteran midfielder started his first game of the 2010 Major League Soccer season last weekend in Seattle, and 22 minutes later he was celebrating a goal.
Like Gregg Berhalter and Alan Gordon before him, Kirovski battled a preseason injury and has returned, fully fit, hungry, willing and able to contribute.
“I just worked hard every day, been getting in a few games here and there,” Kirovski said. “Whatever [coach Bruce Arena] needs me I'll do what I can do and hopefully I can help the team.”
Against Seattle, Kirovski helped the Galaxy deal with a midweek road game. While playing the same starting lineup in consecutive games with just two rest days in between would have been challenging, Arena opted to start Gordon at forward against Colorado, and Gordon responded with the only goal in the Galaxy’s 1-0 win.
Kirovski paired with Edson Buddle for the Sounders tilt, and Kirovski’s first goal of the season opened the floodgates as the Galaxy went on to win 4-0. The victory gave the Galaxy a sparkling 7-0-1 record, but Kirovski said the team isn’t getting ahead of itself quite yet.
“We just look at it one game at a time,” Kirovski said. “We’ll concentrate on Toronto and go out and try to win. We have a deep squad, one of the deepest in the league. Yeah, we all want to play, we’re competitive and it shows on the field.”
Every day, Kirovski comes farther than most to be part of that depth. The 34-year-old lives in Escondido, which sits roughly 100 miles from the Home Depot Center. He leaves his house between 6:30 and 7 a.m. each morning for practice.
“It's not that bad. I'm used to it,” Kirovski said. “I beat traffic. I stop and get coffee, get up here and read the paper. I'm getting old. I read the paper. That's what I spend time doing in the morning.”
Kirovski may need to inject some more caffeine in his system for the next month or more. The Galaxy will bid farewell to both Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle after Saturday’s match against Toronto FC. The duo will leave for World Cup training camp. Donovan is a shoo-in for a roster spot while Buddle could also get the call for South Africa, which would mean six weeks, possibly longer, without the team’s top attacking players.
Still, Kirovski insisted not much will change for him.
“It’ll be the same as I always approach each training [session] and each game. I'm competitive and I want to win,” he said. “Those are two good players we're losing but we have good players and we just have to keep on going and try to win every game.”