Columbus Crew relying on Dominic Oduro for goals, but hoping to get Eddie Gaven back on track
OBETZ, Ohio – There is no telling where the Columbus Crew would be without Dominic Oduro after 11 games, but there's a good chance they'd be worse than their modest sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
While 2012 team co-leaders in goals Jairo Arrieta and Eddie Gaven have just one between them this season, Oduro has carried the offense for the past seven matches – scoring four of the Crew's six goals during that span.
In fact, the Ghanaian attacker is the only player with a goal from the run of play since the fourth game of the season, way back on March 23 at D.C. United.
The other scorers from that point besides Oduro have been Josh Williams (off a corner kick) and Federico Higuain (penalty). Both goals came in a 3-0 win vs. D.C. United on April 27. Oduro's five goals for the season represent 38 percent of the 13 by the Crew (4-4-3).
"Trust me, it would be nice if others scored but I would love to score most of the goals if possible," Oduro said. "I guess I'm being selfish but I' m a forward. I would like to score goals. But if someone else gets a goal and we win, then I'm happy."
Oduro, acquired from Chicago in February for Dilly Duka and the rights to Robbie Rogers, has scored three times playing up top as replacement for Arrieta, instead of on the flanks. The latest was the winner in a 1-0 victory on Saturday at Toronto FC while Arrieta served the first of a two-game ban.
Higuaín had a perfect entry pass that split the defense and Oduro did the rest by dribbling around the goalkeeper for an open look.
Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha is somewhat impressed by what Oduro is doing.
"We're giving him goals on a platter. He has no choice but to score," he joked. "He's making good runs and we have players that can make a good pass. That's a good combination."
Yet, it hasn't worked this year for Gaven. After a career-high nine goals last year, including five in the final 13 games after the arrival in August of Higuain, he has yet to score.
"Part of it is I'm not getting as many touches near the box," Gaven said. "Part of it is when I get touches I haven't been as sharp."
Gaven has taken only seven shots (four on target) in nine games. By comparison, Williams, a right back, has three goals via seven shots on goal.
"Eddie's going to score for us sooner or later," Warzycha said. "It's not like he's playing poorly. He's playing good. He's just not having the clear look at the goals because if he did he would have some goals."