Game-winner gives Chicago's Oduro much-needed boost

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Say whatever else you will about him – Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro isn’t short on confidence.

The blazing-fast forward is adamant that he’s the fastest man in the league, and he keeps a list of goal celebrations so that he can plan for his next tally. So it’s saying something that his three-game goal drought heading into Saturday’s 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City had him a little shook up.

HIGHLIGHTS: CHI 2, SKC 1

“My head was spinning a little bit,” Oduro told MLSsoccer.com. “Especially when you get chances and you don’t put the ball in the back of the net, it kind of worries you a little bit. But as a professional, you just have to have confidence and stay positive, and eventually it will come.”

OPTA Chalkboard: Fire take full advantage of 10-man SKC

Oduro’s drought came to an end in the 81st minute of Saturday’s game when Patrick Nyarko took the ball off Kei Kamara inside SKC’s area and bundled the ball to his onrushing teammate for the tap-in. He also drew the 60th-minute foul that gave Chicago a penalty kick, and subsequently their first goal.

“It’s huge as a striker when the ball goes in the net,” Nyarko said of his Ghanaian countryman. “You can really build confidence. He definitely doesn’t lack confidence anyway, but this can lift it to a new level. We need his confidence.”

The goal helped ease the pain of a few chances gone awry in the last few weeks. On Wednesday, his wide-open header clanked off the cross bar in a 0-0 tie against Real Salt Lake. On Saturday, he had another open header that missed the frame and couldn’t control the ball on a breakaway midway through the second half.

LINEUPS AND BOXSCORE

“He puts a lot of pressure on himself, he always wants to go out and score,” Nyarko said. “But knowing him, he doesn’t lack confidence. He always believes the next one will go in.”

On Saturday, he finally got the next one to go in. And now he can get back to focusing on other things.

“It wasn’t anything bad, but at the end of the day I thought I needed a goal to kind of motivate me,” Oduro said. “I’m glad that goal came. At the end of the day, it kind of sets my mind at peace. It tells me I’m doing a great job pushing forward. As a forward, I always want to score.”