BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — You knew Fire defender Dan Gargan was going to be thrilled with a goal against his former team Toronto FC on Sunday.
You just didn’t know he’d be this thrilled.
Gargan, who was traded from Toronto to Chicago barely three weeks ago, headed home the second goal of the Fire’s 2-0 victory over TFC Sunday evening, launching an emphatic celebration that saw him shoot his arms into the air, sprint to the corner flag and fly into a gaggle of ecstatic teammates for a lengthy embrace.
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The celebration wasn’t particularly acrobatic or showy — Gargan apparently leaves the post-goal back-flips to teammate Marco Pappa — but what it lacked in pizzazz it more than made up for with passion.
And who could blame Gargan for being a bit enthusiastic? The 28-year-old right back was cast off by Toronto on July 28, traded to Chicago with a 2012 SuperDraft pick for defender Dasan Robinson. He had something to prove to his old team on Sunday and, when he found the back of the net, he let the whole stadium know how he felt.
“I can’t really hide it and I’m not going to try to either,” Gargan said after the match. “It feels phenomenal. It felt like a long time coming but it was nice to get it against them.”
The fact that his goal helped the Fire end their 10-game league winless streak just made it that much sweeter.
“It feels great, it feels great to score,” he said. “But it certainly feels good to get the three points, too. We’ve been pushing for that and we really needed it, and it was nice to get it at home.”
Gargan’s strike, which was just the second of his MLS career, came in the 69th minute. He lost his mark at the back post and got on the end of midfielder Pável Pardo’s bouncing corner kick, heading the ball over the outstretched arms of TFC 'keeper Milos Kocic and inside the far post to seal the game.
“At the time we were pushing for the second one and that kind of put the game out of reach,” Gargan said. “[Fire assistant coach and former Toronto assistant Leo Percovich] does our set pieces, and he was very instrumental in bringing me here as well, and he has a lot of confidence in my ability on set pieces. He was stressing all week to get to that back post and luckily it squirted through and I was able to put it in the back of the net.
“It feels good to get those three points.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.