BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Dilly Duka says he’s comfortable in any position across the midfield.
“I don’t mind where I play. I feel like I can play multiple positions, when I’m thrown out there, I don’t care where I’m at. I just try to execute.
So when Frank Klopas decided to change things up a bit and push Patrick Nyarko up top vs. Philadelphia on Saturday, the first-year Fire winger was much obliged to move into the Ghanaian’s spot on the right.
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And though the team came away with a disappointing 1-0 defeat, Duka put in his best performance since joining the Men in Red in early February.
“I think he did well overall,” Klopas told Chicago-Fire.com. “He got in some good spots and we know he’s good in the final third as far as creating and beating players one-on-one.”
Duka showed exactly what Klopas was talking about in the 58th minute. Receiving the ball up the right flank from Daniel Paladini, Duka muscled past Gabriel Farfan.
With space, he cut into the box, leaving center back Bakary Soumare frozen before letting off a left-footed blast that Zac MacMath needed a second touch to corral.
“I think he can be even more aggressive in that part of the field,” Klopas said. “He was good with the ball and now his ability as a young player to work and have an impact without the ball as far as defending is improving.”
Duka, who began the season as the team’s starting left winger, spent three weeks out with a hamstring injury following the side’s 0-0 draw at Sporting KC on March 16. Once returned to health, he saw only spot minutes as a late-game sub as the team earned two wins in three matches in April.
“Other guys got chosen and played well,” he said. “If the team is winning, then they’re not going to change things too much.
"You understand that as a player. I don’t think about it too much, we just need points and however I can go out there and execute – that’s a good thing.”
With Nyarko potentially pushed up front for a second-straight game for the team’s return leg Saturday in Philadelphia, Duka’s way on the field could come on the right.
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If that’s the case, he’ll hope to take advantage of the amount of space the Ghanaian creates.
“Patrick’s an incredibly dangerous player. Just in the few months I’ve been here, I see it. [This past game] I thought Patrick played really well and put the defense off balance. I thought it was a good look for him.
“When you have a player that can beat guys they’re going to double down on him – it opens up space for everyone.”