Columbus Crew's Dominic Oduro ready to face old fans in Chicago: "I expect them to boo me a bit"
"There was no need for me to get a slow car," he told MLSsoccer.com this week. "I don't have the money to buy a Ferrari yet so the Camaro was the closest to the way I wanted to describe myself. I'm a fast guy, so I wanted my car to be fast, too."
The Ghana-born midfielder/forward is fast in another way, too, quickly winning over fans in Columbus with a team-best three goals after coming to the Crew in February in a trade that sent Dilly Duka and the rights to Robbie Rogers to the Chicago Fire.
Oduro opened his account in the season opener by putting his speed on display in the closing minutes at Chivas USA with a one-man counterattack. He raced 70 yards then scooted around goalkeeper Dan Kennedy to complete a 3-0 victory.
"It's not just that he's scored three nice goals for us," midfielder Eddie Gaven said. "It's all the runs he makes off the ball creating so much more space for the guys playing underneath him, myself included."
Oduro's next challenge comes Saturday when he returns Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., to face the Fire for the first time since the deal (8:30 pm ET, watch FREE on MLS Stream of the Week).
Of course, Oduro is used to going against former teammates, having played previously for FC Dallas, New York and Houston since his first MLS season in 2006.
"I try as much as possible to just go out there and play and have fun," he said. "Otherwise, you'll lose your focus and try to impress the other team for letting you go."
The trade was a matter of convenience: Duka, who scored twice in 45 games with the Crew, wanted out while Oduro was unhappy losing his starting job, although he insists he did not specifically seek to leave the Fire.
It could be a matter of semantics.
"For the record, I never went to the coach to ask to be traded," he said. "I just asked if I wasn't the guy for them, we should just move on. Maybe the [words] 'move on' is really traded. Then I guess my English is bad."
Still, he knows his reception Saturday won't be warm despite scoring 18 times in 66 games for the Fire.
"I expect them to boo at me a little bit," he said. "If that's the case I'm fine with it. Some will cheer for me. I appreciate that. I still love them. They made me who I am."
The Crew have gotten the better of the deal so far. Duka averaged 58 minutes in starting the first three games for Chicago but has been hampered by a hamstring injury since. He missed two games before playing five minutes last week against Houston and has yet to score.
Oduro said it's unfair to compare him and Duka.
"You can't do that," he said. "Maybe over there with Duka it's taking time to click but I'm glad I'm here and clicking and enjoying playing with the guys."