Fire's Ghanaian odd couple finally at home in Windy City

Forwards Oduro and Nyarko compliment each other's unique talents

Oduro and Nyarko

Photo Credit: 
Brian Kersey Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – After Chicago Fire forward Dominic Oduro scored 25 seconds into the Fire’s 3-2 win over Toronto FC last Saturday, he ran to the corner while Logan Pause held back his on-rushing teammates.

Oduro reared back as if he had something in his hands and took a swing, but there were questions about what sport he was miming. Was it a golf swing? Cricket?

“It was baseball, come on man,” Oduro told MLSsoccer.com about the low rip that few Little Leaguers would be proud of.

In the 58th minute, Nyarko scored after Oduro broke him free with a through pass out on a counterattack. But Nyarko didn’t have any big celebration planned. Instead, he simply ran to the corner and addressed the Fire fans in attendance.

“I like to be more low-key so I don’t have to explain myself like [Oduro] is now,” Nyarko said after practice with a laugh.

Nyarko is certainly the more understated member of the Ghanaian strike partnership. When Nyarko drives his Ghanaian teammate to work, he said he just tries to get them there alive. But when Oduro’s driving, Nyarko said he sits on the edge of his seat.

“He’s the rowdier driver,” Nyarko said.

Nyarko simply runs to the corner to salute fans after he scores a goal, like he did on Saturday. Oduro has formulated a list of celebrations with his teammates to use during games.

“I think it’s part of the entertaining aspect of the game,” Oduro told MLSsoccer.com. “It’s nothing personal, and I’m not trying to put my ego out there. I’m celebrating with my teammates. I like to get the crowd into it, too.”

Because of their differences, they’ve been able to work together on the field. While Oduro would rather find the back of the net than find an open teammate, Nyarko is more likely to create a goal than score one.

It took each of them a few years to settle into their natural roles.

Nyarko scored 31 goals and had 24 assists in his three years at Virginia Tech, and the Fire envisioned him to be a goalscorer when they drafted him with the seventh pick of the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. But he was shifted back into the midfield after his first two years in the league and led the Fire in assists during the last two seasons.

“I was always more of a creator,” Nyarko told MLSsoccer.com. “There were just less defensive responsibilities in college.”

Oduro, meanwhile, scored just 12 goals in his first five years in MLS. But since the Fire acquired him early last season, Oduro has scored 15 goals.

“I’m taking what I’m getting in terms of scoring goals,” Oduro said. “Did I envision I would get to this point in terms of scoring goals? I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to score goals wherever I was.”

As for Oduro’s celebrations, Nyarko thinks they need work.

“I don’t know where he watches baseball,” Nyarko said with a smile.

HIGHLIGHTS: TOR vs CHI