BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – A year after he burst onto the MLS scene by scoring 12 goals, Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro was left frustrated as he started on the bench for the last 13 games of the Fire’s season.
The speedy Ghanaian was bumped out of the starting lineup by newly-acquired Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald in August after scoring just one goal in his previous 13 games, and he wasn’t happy about it.
“I thought even before I lost my starting position, I was playing well, the team were playing well,” Oduro told MLSsoccer.com. “I think we were still part of the top five. Up until now, I’m still trying to figure out the reason why I got benched, but I didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.”
The Ghanaian came off the bench in the Fire’s last 12 games after starting 21 of the first 22 games of the season, using his speed to out-run tired defenders.
Oduro was a solid contributor off the bench, but he tallied just one goal and one assist.
“I just wanted to play,” Oduro said. “I wasn’t comfortable coming in off the bench. I still made an impact, just trying to prove to the coaches that I can still start. It didn’t happen. It’s all part of being a team player. It was a little bit up and down for me, but at the end of the day, I think I was professional about it, and at the end of the season, we’ll just see what happens. If we’ve got to move on, I’ll move on.”
He never voiced his qualms during the season, but as the Fire wrapped up training sessions and prepared to clean out their lockers this week, Oduro said he made his frustration clear to the coaching staff.
While he hopes to return to Chicago in 2013, he only wants to stay if he can work his way back into the starting lineup.
“We’ve had our talk about what I have to do to get back in the starting lineup, and I’m going to work hard,” Oduro said. “I want to be here. At the same time, I still want to play. It comes down to that. If I believe I deserve to play, and I feel like I’m not being utilized the way it is, like I said, at the end, you’ve got to move on. I want to be back. It’s a good team, it’s a good family, but at the end of the day, I think it’s business if I feel like I deserve to be on the field.”