HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo have been clear throughout the offseason: They wanted speed at the forward position. Houston took a step toward fulfilling that want by resigning forward Dominic Oduro on Wednesday.
After spending part of 2009 and 2010 with the Dynamo – producing 6 goals and 8 assists in 43 matches – the club entered negotiations to keep the speedy striker in orange. However, Oduro declined the club’s contract offer, choosing to explore his options overseas.
“To be honest, we’ve been back and forth [in talks with Oduro’s representatives] since the MLS Cup,” said Dynamo president of business operations Chris Canetti. “We talked periodically, and around January we started talking about a deal again. It was a matter of us putting our best deal forward and him evaluating his options and then deciding to sign with us."
During his time in Houston, Oduro has shown he has the skill set to stretch defenses. His elite speed forces defenders to play their line deeper, conceding space in the midfield for the likes Geoff Cameron and Brad Davis.
“We’ve been in the market for a guy who can stretch the field and [Oduro] can be that guy,” said Houston manager Dom Kinnear. “Sometimes teams sit back and try to protect the space behind their defense and speed can open up space underneath.”
Oduro increases the number of forwards in camp to five. With only Brian Ching guaranteed a starting spot, Oduro joins rookie Will Bruin, returning forward Cameron Weaver and newcomer Jason Garey in a competition to earn minutes not only as a starter, but as quality depth.
“We’re comfortable with the guys we have. But you have to prepare for a time when those guys aren’t around, so depth is important,” said Kinnear. “Right now we have a healthy competition going on at that position.”
With the signing of Oduro the Dynamo has three senior roster spots available and the club is not standing pat. While Oduro provides that coveted speed option, the club is still looking to add players who can boost their chances at returning to the playoffs regardless of position or skill set.
“I don’t think we’re done at any position and we’ve had some names thrown our way that we will look at in June,” said Kinnear. “With the expanded roster, if something right comes along, we’ll have to do whatever we can to help our club.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. You can follow him on twitter @Dynamoexaminer.