Fire's Oduro certain he sees weakness in SKC backline
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro came away from this week’s film session excited.
The speedy Ghanaian saw Philadelphia Union players break through the Kansas City defense again and again in their 4-0 win. If Sporting play the same way on Friday when the Fire visit Livestrong Park (8 pm ET; NBN Sports Network, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), he’s sure he’ll make them pay.
“Once I saw that, I started licking my lips,” Oduro told MLSsoccer.com. “I hope they step up their line really high, but I don’t think that’s smart. In the back of my mind, we know that they have a little weakness.”
Oduro may need a big performance to keep a hold on his starting spot.
NBC Sports Preview: KC vs. CHI
The Fire announced on Thursday that they had picked up creative midfielder Sebastián Grazzini’s option after much speculation that they wouldn’t, and coach Frank Klopas said the team still wants to add another forward after the transfer window opened.
“I think if you put that in the back of your mind, it might just mess up your game,” Oduro said. “You need to just focus. I think if you do that, I think individually that will show.”
Talk of adding another piece comes at a time when the Fire are playing some of their best soccer of the season. Sparked by new acquisition Chris Rolfe, Chicago beat New York 3-1 in dominating fashion two weeks ago before beating Columbus 2-1, despite being down a man for most of the game.
If the Fire want to extend their first winning streak of the season, they’ll have to deal with a few personnel changes.
Right back Dan Gargan will probably move to the left side of the field after Gonzalo Segares was red-carded last week, and Grazzini won’t make the trip.
“It’s different,” Gargan said about moving from right to left. “Your natural tendencies as a right back are to look over my right shoulder. It seems like such a small thing, but when it becomes a natural habit, it takes a little while to get used to. “
Without Grazzini, the Fire might use their newest acquisition, Brazilian midfielder Alex, at some point. The 23-year-old made the trip to Kansas City and may be used as a late-game substitute, while Rolfe has a chance to get his first start since returning to the club this season.
“[Rolfe] is a smart player,” Klopas said. “He’s easy to play. He keeps things simple and he makes the right passes at the right moment. He can play off of someone, and at times he can play by himself depending on what you need.”
With all of the changes and the speculation, the Fire have been able to maintain consistency that has eluded them throughout the season.
In the last two weeks, they put together two straight games where they scored the first goal and didn’t fall behind for the first time all season.
On Saturday, they have a chance to register just their second three-game winning streak since early 2009.
“I think we’re really focused, I think everybody’s really in sync,” Oduro said. “That’s what you really want. It’s just a matter of whether we can sustain that through the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.”
Key Match-Up: Chicago speed vs. KC defense