Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One on One with Dominic Oduro

Dominic Oduro has turned heads this season with his incredible form. Since arriving in Chicago, the mercurial striker has scored twelve goals and is in the running for the league’s Golden Boot race. Oduro has turned his speed and tactical awareness into a deadly weapon that many teams in MLS are taking notice of. He’s become the team of Chicago’s ever-sharpening spear.

As the Fire continue in their fight for a playoff spot, they know every game is a must win. Oduro has become essential to this push. The team is playing some of their best soccer of the season and I spoke to Dominic about his stellar form and his contributions to the Fire’s chances. Here’s what he had to say.

MLS Reserves: Can you start off by discussing how the season has gone for you thus far?

Dominic Oduro: “Personally I think it’s been great. A lot of goals, playing well…I’m motivated. There’s still room for improvement and to get better but it’s one of the best seasons I’ve had in MLS.”

MLS Reserves: Leaving the Houston Dynamo and then finding success with the Fire, what was it that changed for you? What do you attribute that success to?

Dominic Oduro: “It’s the way the Fire plays. It suits my style of play very well. I keep saying everything is different. It looks like the system here and the way I play click very well.”

“My teammates have a lot to do with that. I’m not going to take credit for my great season all by myself. My teammates are making things happen for me by playing great through balls, connecting passes with me and moving around the field. They have a lot to do with my success. I’m not going to take all the credit. I credit them.”

MLS Reserves: You’re in the mix for the golden boot this year; does that enter your thoughts at all? Is it something you think about?

Dominic Oduro: “Well in the back of my mind it is, but at the end of the day I’m working towards the playoffs. I’ll take a win over anything like that. Hopefully with these [upcoming] games we can make the playoffs. At the same time if I pick up enough goals to win the Golden Boot, then that would be a great achievement as well.”

MLS Reserves: Your speed is obviously an asset, what other aspects of your game do you look to improve?

Dominic Oduro: “Everything. There’s always room for improvement. I don’t think I have perfected any of my talent or my style or my abilities on the field. I have worked on my movement. I try to calm myself down… running a hundred miles an hour and I had to calm down in front of goal. I think that has really helped me out this season. How to stay connected with my teammates and movement off the ball… How to move off the ball is something I’ve been working on a lot.”

“To put the ball in the net is basically movement. It’s all about the movement. Those are some of the things I try to work on but it’s basically everything. The little stuff: moving off the ball, calming yourself down and not running a hundred miles an hour in front of goal. I try to stay connected with my teammates.”

MLS Reserves: With the Fire seemingly coming into form at the right time, how is the locker room?

Dominic Oduro: “Right now, we are motivated. We all know what the stakes are right now. We know that even a tie at the moment would not be good for us. We know we have three games left and we are psyched and read to go. Every team that comes to our park is going to be tough. We have to give 110%.”

“A win is what we’re looking for right now and that’s our mentality on the field and in the locker room and everywhere else. We are psyched to go and pumped. We know we have to win to make the playoffs. It’s that easy, we win we make it, we lose and we’re out. I think we’re all on the same page right now.”

I asked Dominic his thoughts on Frank Klopas becoming the full time head coach. While he wasn’t inclined to say one way or another what Klopas was thinking, he did lend his support for the Interim Coach. Oduro feels Klopas has been a positive influence on the club and that he trusts management of the club to make the right decisions moving forward. 

We went on to talk about what it's been like for him moving into Chicago and bonding with the club. In particular I asked him to talk about the fanbase. Needless to say, he has been impressed. 

MLS Reserves: Can you talk a bit about your relationship with the fans since coming to the Fire?

Dominic Oduro: “Amazing. The Section 8… I don’t know what words to use to describe them. We could be losing and they’ll chant like it’s nothing. I’ve gotten close to a few of them and it’s a good feeling to know those guys have your back in games. They’re great guys and I’m grateful to be friends with them. I’m just looking forward to their support all the time.”

Regardless of how the Fire end up at the end of the season, it’s clear that Oduro has found a home in Chicago. His performance shows his confidence and that confidence has come from the faith his teammates and fans have shown in him.

It will be interesting to see where he goes from here. With the Fire so happy with him, that continued confidence could take him to new heights. Regardless, fans around MLS and Chicago in particular will find themselves watching him closely. Goal-scorers are always exciting and Dominic Oduro is no exception. 

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