Dominic Oduro looking for another goal — and rare Fire win
By LEN ZIEHM For Sun-Times Media July 7, 2011 8:06PM
Since the Fire traded for Dominic Oduro, its attack has been better, but it hasn’t translated into victories. | John Smierciak~AP
Updated: October 25, 2011 12:29AM
Dominic Oduro scored his fifth goal of the season for the Fire last Saturday, tying him with midfielder Marco Pappa for the team lead. This Saturday, Oduro goes back to the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., hoping not only to score again but to get a better result for his struggling team.
Last week’s game, against Major League Soccer rival Chivas USA, ended in a 1-1 draw — the Fire’s 12th tie in 18 games. This time the opponent is the Los Angeles Galaxy (9-2-9), the best team in MLS. Chivas USA and the Galaxy share the same home field.
The Fire’s eight-game unbeaten streak sounds good. So does its 1-0-6 record since technical director Frank Klopas replaced Carlos de los Cobos as coach. It’s the longest unbeaten run for an MLS coach starting a new job since the league dispensed with shootouts to break ties in 2000.
Still, the Fire (2-4-12) remains an also-ran and won’t improve on that status by settling for one point for a draw instead of the three awarded for a victory.
‘‘I could name a couple games where we should have easily gotten three points,’’ Oduro said. ‘‘This game isn’t really fair sometimes. For us it’s about being focused the whole 90 minutes. Little errors can hurt you.’’
Acquiring the speedy Oduro has been Klopas’ best move to get the Fire out of its doldrums. He sent injury-riddled forward Calen Carr to the Houston Dynamo for Oduro on March 23, just after Oduro was roundly booed in Houston for missing an easy chance that would have given his team a 1-1 season-opening draw with the Philadelphia Union instead of a 1-0 loss.
Oduro, who left his native Ghana to attend college at Virginia Commonwealth in 2004, had stints with FC Dallas and the New York Red Bulls before coming to the Dynamo in 2009. He refused an initial contract offer from Houston during the last offseason in anticipation of getting a better deal in Europe, but that never materialized. Oduro, in his sixth MLS season, asked the Dynamo to take him back in February. He was sent packing after the first-game miss.
‘‘I was surprised,’’ Oduro said. ‘‘I thought Houston wanted to keep me there. I didn’t see the trade coming, but it was a blessing in disguise.’’
It wasn’t for the Dynamo. Carr, a first-round draft choice who never was a steady starter in five seasons with the Fire, was nursing a concussion at the time of the trade and still hasn’t played for the Dynamo.
Oduro, meanwhile, scored his first goal for the Fire in a 2-1 home loss to the Galaxy on April 17 and will be looking to find the net again in the rematch. Though he did score last week, Oduro hopes he’ll have better luck in his second visit to the Home Depot Center.
‘‘I was disappointed in myself,’’ he said. ‘‘I should have done better to help my team. I had a couple breakaways and should have been patient and put the ball in the net.’’
Still, Oduro was one of six Fire field players placed on the fan ballot this week to determine starters in the July 27 All-Star game against England’s Manchester United in New York. The others are Pappa, Gonzalo Segares, Cory Gibbs, Logan Pause and Diego Chaves.
‘‘I still think I’ve been doing great, and I love this game,’’ Oduro said. ‘‘Being an All-Star would be much appreciated.’’