The unbeaten LA Galaxy have been getting surprising performances from a number of players this season, and last Saturday was no different.
The latest lift came courtesy of Jovan Kirovski, a 34-year-old forward who recorded his first multi-goal game in almost three years in the Galaxy's 4-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo. The game wasn't even a minute old when Kirovski scored with assists from Sean Franklin and Michael Stephens, and he was at it again 20 minutes later with the same trio hooking up for the team's go-ahead goal.
"When my opportunity came I had two great chances," he said. "They played some great balls and I put them away."
It was the fifth multi-goal game of Kirovski’s MLS career, and his first since he accomplished the feat against the New England Revolution on Aug. 16, 2007 while he was a member of the Colorado Rapids. Kirovski didn't score any goals in 2008, when he split time with Colorado and the San Jose Earthquakes, because of an injury but he did score twice in 22 games and 13 starts with the Galaxy in 2009.
His recent numbers might not be what he has been hoping for, but Kirovski said he never lost any confidence.
"I'm always confident in my ability," he said as he prepared for Wednesday's game in Real Salt Lake. "I come in every day and work hard. I know my role. This is similar to what I had last year, just fill in, especially with guys leaving for the World Cup or injuries.
"We have so many games on our schedule, and when I'm called upon I want to go out and perform and do whatever I can to help the team."
Kirovski has started four games this season and has scored three goals. Only Edson Buddle, currently with the U.S. national team for the World Cup in South Africa, has more with nine.
"He's what, our second-leading goal scorer for the year?" head coach Bruce Arena asked with a grin. "I've known Jovan for a number of years. He's a very good player, a very bright player and a very technical player.
"Good players usually get some big goals, and he got us a couple last year as well. When good players are in position to make a play, more often than not they're going to make it."
Kirovski, who still makes his home in Escondido and makes the almost 200-mile round trip to and from The Home Depot Center for games and practices, had a minor setback early in training camp when he was lost for five weeks with an injured medial collateral ligament in his left knee. But he said he's 100 percent and feels great.
"I felt good all preseason, and I feel good now," he said. "That was just a minor setback. No big deal."
Kirovski said he has plenty of soccer left in him, but he's already thinking about his future. He secured his Class 'B' coaching license during the offseason and said that career could be something he'll pursue when his playing days are over.
He doesn't plan on that happening anytime soon, but he simply wants to keep his options open.
"I want to stay in the game," he said. "I've been around it for a long time and I love it. (Coaching) is just something I wanted to keep as an option, something I feel I'd be good at. I've done this my whole life, I want to help the young kids."
First, however, he has every intention of helping the Galaxy. He's proven to be a more than capable substitute off the bench, and when he starts he's capitalized on his chances.
"I still feel great," he said. "As long as I can help the team, that's all I care about. I just take it one game at a time."