Home MLS Toronto FC Gargan’s revenge — another former Red haunts TFC

Gargan’s revenge — another former Red haunts TFC

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All Fire-d up!

Dan Gargan was feeling exactly that on Sunday night after he scored a second-half insurance goal against his former club in Chicago Fire’s 2-0 win over Toronto FC at Toyota Park.

Gargan must have had this match circled on his calendar the day he was traded from Toronto to Chicago late last month. He was deemed expendable after TFC made numerous moves in mid-July, but has since found a role in the starting lineup for the Fire.

It was the second good performance by a former Red this month against TFC. On Aug. 6, it was former captain Dwayne De Rosario who put in a MLS Player-of-the-Week performance, scoring a hat trick in a 3-3 tie against Toronto.

With the victory, the Fire snapped a 10-game winless streak and won just its third game of the season and first since June 12. Chicago has now leapfrogged both TFC and the New England Revolution by a point each to sit alone in seventh spot of the Eastern Conference with 24 points. Meanwhile, TFC and the Revolution are now tied for last place with 23 points each. For Toronto, the loss snapped its six-game unbeaten streak in all competitions and still leaves the club winless on the road in MLS play.

The Reds nearly opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Matt Stinson collected a ball and charged toward the Fire’s 16-yard box. He drove a hard blast on goal but his shot was punched out by the Fire ‘keeper Sean Johnson. Johnson had to be very sharp on the play and did well to get in front of the ball to keep the game scoreless.

Forward Dominic Oduro did open the scoring for the Fire with his eighth goal of the season and was a constant threat all night for Chicago. In the 16th minute, Patrick Nyarko made a backheel pass to Gonzalo Segares, who ran down the left touchline. He quickly attempted a cross but was blocked by TFC’s Torsten Frings, but the ball came right back to him. His second cross did make it through to Orduro at the edge of the six yard box, and the forward stuck out his right leg to deflect the ball past ‘keeper Milos Kocic to make it 1-0.

Kocic was once again starting in place of the injured Stefan Frei, who sat out the match with a knee contusion. The Serbian has seen a lot of action lately having played in five of TFC’s last seven matches and now has a record of 4-1 in all competitions in 2011. On Saturday, Kocic won the award for MLS Save of the Week for his game-saving stop in extra time in last week’s 1-0 win over Real Salt Lake.

In the 34th minute, TFC forward Ryan Johnson has a ball played through to him and he went in all alone on a breakaway. But the Fire keeper came out to challenge and was able to smother the low drive to keep his clean sheet intact.

Both teams enjoyed more or less equal possession, but the Fire created better scoring chances compared to TFC and could have scored a couple more had Kocic not made some big saves late in the first half. Kocic’s best stop came in the 45th minute when he absolutely stole a goal away from Marco Pappa. The midfielder curled a left-footed strike from the edge of the box, but Kocic was able to dive to his left and make a fantastic save tipping the ball over goal.

In the second half, TFC came out pressing in the early going and nearly tied up the game in the 51st minute. With pressure deep in the Fire half, Julian de Guzman received a pass at the top of the box before taking two steps and unleashing a hard strike at goal. The ball slammed off the post and came out to Joao Plata on the other side of the box but with the goalie out of position he put the ball wide of goal.

De Guzman has been playing very well of late scoring two goals after a long 40-game scoring drought in all competitions. He scored his first goal as a Red in league play against DC United on Aug. 6 and scored the game winner against Tauro FC in Panama on Thursday night.

Toronto enjoyed the majority of possession in the match, but could not exploit a usually weak Chicago defence and was unable to create many dangerous scoring opportunities. After the Fire went up 1-0 the team played a more defensive formation and, for the most part, would only push forward on the counterattack.

In the 69th minute, however, Gargan leapt into the attack to get sweet revenge against his former club. Off a Fire corner kick, the ball bounced into the crease area and Gargan slipped past the TFC defence and from the far post jumped up to finish a perfect header giving the Fire a commanding 2-0 lead. Gargan had a huge smile on his face after celebrating with his teammates on the touchline while TFC coach and technical director Aron Winter looked on sitting quietly on the bench.

Toronto nearly got on the board in the 77th minute when Johnson connected on a long range cross from defender Danleigh Borman, but his diving header also slammed off the post. Fire’s Johnson needed to make just two saves to earn the clean sheet, but was also bailed out by the woodwork twice in the second half.

Toronto played an uninspiring match considering the team defeated the highly talented RSL last week. Although the team was without forward Danny Koevermans and midfielder Eric Avila, TFC was guilty of playing down to its opposition and lost against another winnable opponent considering its good play of late.

The Reds will now return home for the first of two matches to close out the month of August. First up is FC Dallas in Toronto’s second group stage match in the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. ET. On Saturday, TFC will return to league play hosting the San Jose Earthquakes at BMO Field with kickoff at 7 p.m. ET.

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One Comment

  1. James

    August 23, 2011 at 2:20 am

    At least deGuzman is playing really well and Frings looks good. Nice to see a Canadian kid standout like Stinson did. I hope they let him continue to grow and don’t end up treating him like they did Nana.

    Gargan scoring has gotta hurt… That guy sucks.

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