A picture perfect night in front of 12,020 fans at Toyota Park (some of which where sporting neckties in honor of the Fire's record breaking season) and the first home victory since March 26 lifted team spirits after a ten game winless streak was finally snapped. In a match that included defender Dan Gargan scoring against his former team, the Fire's first score on a corner kick all season, and the first two goal lead since that March 26 home opener against Sporting Kansas City the Fire seemed to finally catch some breaks. Julian de Guzman came inches from tying the match in the 52nd minute as his shot clanged the post and allowed the Fire to maintain the lead and control the game. A reversal of fortunes for sure.
Dan Gargan cited his excitement after the score against Toronto, "I can't really hide it and I'm not going to try to either. It felt like a long time coming but it was nice to get it against them." "Leo Percovich does our set pieces and he was very instrumental in bringing me here as well, he has a lot of confidence in my ability on set pieces and he was stressing all week to get to the back post and luckily it squirted through and I was there to put in the back of the net."
GK Sean Johnson (6) - Credited with three saves. His best was a 33rd minute stop on Ryan Johnson's shot after the Toronto forward managed to get behind the Fire defense. Solidly handled all of Toronto's corner kicks and crosses into the area as well.
D Gonzalo Segares (6) - His service into the box provided the pass that led to Oduro's goal. Also solid on the outside in defense.
D Jalil Anibaba (6) - It's going to be hard to get him out of the first eleven as he continues his steady play at center back. Klopas said after the match, "I like him better as a center back. He reads the game better there. I think he can play both but I see him as a better center back than out wide."
D Cory Gibbs (6) - Steady in the middle other than one play in the 33rd minute where Johnson managed to get behind him for a shot on net. Also had a chance or two on corner kick opportunities.
D Dan Gargan (6) - Acquiring Gargan for Dasan Robinson and a draft pick appears to be a good bit of business on Klopas' part. He's been solid in every appearance thus far.
M Logan Pause (5) - Pause always puts in the effort and today was no exception as he played a more defensive role for much of the match than he has over the last three games.
M Pavel Pardo (6) - Solid in the back of the midfield for the whole game and even provided good service on corner kicks, a novelty for the Fire this season.
M Marco Pappa (5) - Actually produced a good defensive play or two and a 45th minute blast almost found the upper ninety forcing Kocic into a diving save. His corner kicks however, continue to be weak. Subbed out in the 73rd.
M Sebastian Grazzini (5) - Active but not as dangerous as he has been in previous matches. Playing into the 89th minute is a good sign, the Fire continue to look like a different team with him on the pitch. Had a bad pass or two along the way.
F Patrick Nyarko (5) - Not a bad game with a few decent crosses and a dangerous run or two but seemed to be just a step off for stretches.
F Dominic Oduro (6) - Finished his one good chance with a fancy flick that gave the Fire the lead and also had several runs that went unnoticed by teammates.
F Orr Barouch (5) - Came on for Pappa and moved into a lone forward role with Nyarko and Oduro dropping back into midfield after the Fire's second goal. Missed Oduro on a run in the 87th minute and botched a 2v1 opportunity.
F Cristian Nazirit (5) - Entered the game in the 89th minute for Grazzini and did a nice job of finding teammates and keeping the ball moving forward as the Fire looked to kill the few remaining moments of the match.
M Baggio Husidic (5) - Subbed in for Oduro in stoppage time. His one shot attempt was blocked.
C Frank Klopas (5) - After a tough night against DC on Thursday pushed all the right buttons to finally get a victory. Allowed Grazzini to stay on the pitch and moved into a defensive posture at the right time. You can hear Klopas talk about the addition of Dan Gargan, the effect of the win, Diego Chaves' role, and Jalil Anibaba's future at center back by clicking here.
A home game on Saturday night against the defending champion Colorado Rapids.
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