BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- Aside from getting to see some friends he made off the field, Fire winger Dilly Duka is treating his first return to Columbus Saturday as just another game.
“All-in-all its just another game and an important one at that,” he told Chicago-Fire.com Friday. “We really need three points and we’re playing an Eastern Conference opponent.”
That answer may not have been the same a few months ago as it appeared the Crew were the early winners of the swap that sent Dominic Oduro to the yellow-clad side in exchange for the former U.S. youth international.
The Ghanaian striker got off to a hot start, amassing five goals in his first 11 appearances for the Crew while Duka dealt with injuries and came off the bench for the Men in Red.
Duka earns penalty vs. Colorado
The wild card in the deal was of course the rights to Robbie Rogers, which finally came good when the U.S. international decided he wanted to return to MLS with the LA Galaxy.
The Fire swiftly shifted his rights out west and received Chicago native Mike Magee in exchange last month.
Magee’s exploits for the Fire have been record-breaking as the 28-year-old forward has become the first player in club history to tally a goal in each of his first five competitive appearances.
Duka’s rise hasn’t been quite as statistical but the young midfielder has strung together a number of impressive performances peaking with his display in Wednesday 2-1 victory over Colorado in which he earned the equalizing first half penalty kick for the Men in Red.
“The penalty happened with me taking a risk in the final third and I tried to beat my man.
"I went into the box and I was fortunate enough to hit the ball off Marvell [Wynne’s] hand and it was just a good move all-in-all because it caused the penalty and we ended up tying the game at a crucial point.”
Magee’s penanka take on the penalty had people wooing (WATCH) but asked about the spot kick post game, he directed all the credit to Duka.
“The only thing you need to know about the goal is Dilly,” said Magee post-game.
“He did incredible to beat his guy, then he’s going one on one with Marvell Wynne which is usually a pretty daunting task. He went at him and its all thanks to him. The finish was just pretty simple.”
With that early February trade coming full-circle about a month ago, the early judgment that the Crew got the better of the deal is at the very least debatable.
The Fire now have two starters playing well, with Magee already leading the team in goals while Duka has come into his own of late.
Maybe its athlete-speak but Duka says he hasn’t put too much time into thinking about the deal that brought himself and eventually Magee to Chicago.
“I’m just happy to be here and I think Mike is too,” he said. “He’s contributed a lot which is good for him and the team. Dom is a good guy. A lot of my friends in Columbus like him a lot. I think they have a happy player there and we have two happy players here in Chicago.”