Fighting for minutes in Montreal, Oduro stakes his claim with clutch strike

NEW YORK – Maybe it’s the weather, or the compact pitch, or the New York-style pizza. Whatever it is, Dominic Oduro has found a comfort level at Yankee Stadium.

For a second straight visit to New York City FC, Oduro scored the second-half equalizer as the Montreal Impact rallied to earn a 1-1 draw with NYCFC on Saturday in the Bronx.

While Oduro laughed off the coincidence, City coach Patrick Vieira felt the sting of consecutive blown home leads against the Impact.

“I think the game today was a déjà vu,” Vieira said. “I remember last year it was the same kind of scenario because we controlled the game, we were the better team and at the end we only got the point. Today, the game was the same.”

A year ago, Oduro struck in stoppage time. On Saturday, he leveled the match in the 68th minute thanks to a sublime pass by Patrice Bernier, who lofted a cross to Oduro’s chest as he entered the 18-yard box. Oduro split a pair of NYCFC defenders before calmly finishing past an onrushing Sean Johnson from 10 yards out.

“At practice we’ve been doing this,” Oduro said. “Any time he turns, it’s a cue for me to run and he did that. I just had to put it away because all we had was one chance in this game to make it right.”

Oduro joked that the pass had to come from Bernier because he rarely gets service from Ignacio Piatti on the other side of the field.

“I always have this connection with Patrice because he’s always on my side,” Oduro said. “Every game I tell him to feed me, feed me. I know – just as a joke – Nacho doesn’t feed me so I always have to rely on Patrice.”

Oduro said scoring his first goal of the season was especially fulfilling, because it’s been difficult to be subbed off in each of Montreal’s first two games.

“There’s always pressure on me. I love the pressure. It’s good for me to prove a little bit out there,” Oduro said. “For the past few games it wasn’t how I wanted it in terms of playing time, but I was able to prove it today. The help came from my teammates, too.”

Although the Impact are still in search of their first win of the season, Montreal coach Mauro Biello believes rallying for a point on the road against NYCFC can do wonders going forward.

“I thought it was a well-fought point for us,” Biello said. “I think we showed a lot of character coming back in the second half. We pushed a little more, kept our shape. We were still focused on attack and in the end we were able to get that goal to get a good point here.”

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