Gargan Hails Unwavering Support

The joy was clear for all to see as Dan Gargan wheeled away in delight waving his shirt in the air after scoring the tying goal late in Toronto FC’s Canada Day draw against Houston Dynamo. The exuberant celebration wasn’t just because his header had rescued a point and kept the team’s unbeaten home record intact, but it also marked his first goal for the Reds, and his first career goal in Major League Soccer.

[inline_node:3736]“It was a very sweet feeling to score my first goal in MLS and it was certainly a good time to get one,” he says. “We had tons of chances and it was one of those situations where we were pushing and pushing and it finally came. It was great to get a point but I think that we definitely worked hard enough to get three. Sometimes you just have to battle it out and it is good to walk away with our unbeaten streak still going.”

On Saturday, Gargan goes up against the team that gave him his first chance in professional soccer. He was picked by the Rapids in the third round of the MLS Supplemental Draft in 2005 and spent three years in Colorado before moving to Chivas USA, and then playing in the United Soccer League First Division with Puerto Rico Islanders.

The Philadelphia born 27-year-old is now enjoying his new life in Toronto and is excited to call BMO Field home. “Toronto has always been one of my favourite places to play because of the atmosphere here. The support of the fans still impresses me every time we play at home. A couple of weeks ago we had the G20 going on and to get all of those people here in the stadium on that night was a testament to the city and our fan base.”

“From what I have seen in the last few years, the response from the fans up here has been unwavering despite the fact that the team hasn’t had a lot of success in MLS yet. We’re all hoping that this year we will be able to make the playoffs and it will be special for us to be able to give something back to the fans.”

Gargan’s arrival as a Toronto FC player is a story he will be telling his grandchildren one day. After spending most of preseason on trial with the team, and even scoring a header in a match against the University of Central Florida, the utility man was without a contract in the week leading up to the season. But that all changed just 48 hours before the Reds were due to kick off in Columbus.

“It all happened very quickly,” he says. “I first heard from Preki on the Thursday before the match on the Saturday, and spent Friday going through the whole negotiation process. I ended up getting a flight out of Denver at 6:15 a.m. on the morning of the match. I had to fly into Atlanta and then connect to Columbus. I landed in Columbus a couple of hours before kickoff and grabbed a cab to the stadium. I ended up putting my spikes on in the cab and having a physical in the locker room as the players were getting ready to go out onto the pitch. I had never been through anything like that before!”

Gargan was an unused substitute in the season opener at Crew Stadium, but made his debut in a match at New England two weeks later and has since become a regular starter in Preki’s team, more recently playing right back. “I know Preki sees me as a versatile player and I am happy to play anywhere, but it is nice to settle into a spot.”

“Anytime you can get some consistency in a position, you start to see the nuances of it and really feel more comfortable in your positioning and your options. I am certainly comfortable at right back. During my professional career, that is the position I have played most often. I have played a lot on the right side of midfield as well, but more at the back.”

To read the full interview with Dan Gargan, check out the Matchday Programme at Saturday’s match against Colorado Rapids.