OBETZ, Ohio – Every penalty decision in MLS is viewed under a microscope, and with narrow margins often determining the outcomes of games, that's no surprise.
After a penalty was awarded to the Columbus Crew for a foul on forward Dominic Oduro by Djimi Traoré that also resulted in a red card for the Seattle defender in Columbus' 2-1 win over the Sounders last weekend, some questioned the legitimacy of the call.
But days later, Oduro says he's still feeling the effects of the challenge, and was largely held out of training on Tuesday before returning partially on Wednesday.
“Yesterday we did some running on the leg, and it felt good,” he said. “Today, I went about three quarters [speed] and it felt good. We’ll try and push it 100 percent tomorrow and see how it feels.”
Oduro says the kick to his quad resulted in a charley horse – also known as a dead leg – that caused enough pain that he could not continue. “I have no fat on me, so it went straight to my muscle,” he noted, chuckling to reporters.
“It's unfortunate that I had to come off, but I just felt I couldn't give 100 percent after that, so it's better for me to come out and let somebody else do the job, and I thought we did quite well,” Oduro said, noting that Traoré certainly affected his goalscoring opportunity. “He took me off my balance, and I guess I just tried as much as possible to hit the ball. But he just took me off my balance and it hit the goalie.”
The Ghanaian seemed confident that he'd see the field for the Crew's matchup against Toronto FC Saturday (6 pm ET, MLS Live), but Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter wasn't so sure.
“I hope so; you hope he'll be able to go, I'm just not sure,” Berhalter said. “I don't know how he's going to come out of today, and he was limited today, so we'll see.”
The start against Seattle was Oduro's first of the season after serving a suspension for the first match, and he said he's still working on getting fit enough to play a full 90 minutes.
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“It's been a while since I’ve played a full 90 minutes, let's face it,” he said. “Obviously it's going to take time. And by time, I’m not talking about a month, I’m just talking about one or two games.”
But the start did come at forward, where Oduro has often said he prefers to play.
“I felt comfortable playing up top against Seattle,” he said. “I'm a competitor, I want to play. I just want to show everybody what I can do regardless of what position I’m playing.”