Michael Millay

Garza reflects ahead of Atlanta return

The last time Greg Garza hopped three times on his right foot and prayed on the Mercedes-Benz Stadium pitch, they were his first steps in his FC Cincinnati debut and first steps back against his former club.

Three months earlier, he helped Atlanta United FC lift the 2018 MLS Cup. But that night, his second-half appearance helped jolt FCC to a 1-1 draw with Atlanta, earning Cincinnati its first MLS point in club history.

Garza and the Orange and Blue return to Atlanta this Saturday night, which means an emotional return for Garza to face a club where he gave so much.

“Seventy thousand people giving you a standing ovation is something that I’ll never forget within my career,” Garza said Wednesday after practice. “I think it showed a bit of everything I had within that city, not only with that team, but also with the fans and the community. I think that was something very special for me.

“I want to continue to build off that and continue to do those kinds of things in other cities and hopefully one of these cities is Cincinnati.”

Awaiting his second trip back to Atlanta as an opponent, he said it’ll still be an emotional evening for the left back.

As for Brandon Vazquez, however, this will be his first return to a place where he helped lift the 2018 MLS Cup and 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup trophies.

Photo by Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As Vazquez awaits his return, Garza said this would be his advice:

“It’s your moment. It's your moment to enjoy. For me, I had lifted a trophy within maybe (three) months before that game, so it was a big moment for myself. That's exactly what I would tell him, just enjoy the moment. You don't get many moments like that in your career. There’s very little ups in your career and a lot of downs. So, the ones you are up and can hold onto forever, those are the ones that mean the most.”