Saying goodbye to a player like Dominic Oduro is never easy.
One game into the 2011 season, the Ghanaian attacker was traded to Chicago from Houston after missing a sure goal in the Dynamo’s season opener.
Little did anyone know he would go on to have a resurgent season in Chicago, becoming the first Fire player since Damani Ralph in 2004 to hit double digit goals.
Oduro’s late season partnership up top with countryman Patrick Nyarko in part helped spur the Fire within three points of the postseason after the team took just two wins from its first 20 games.
While his exploits on the field in 2011 led him to the team’s Golden Boot and MVP awards, he also became a fan favorite, acknowledging Fire supporters after goals, on Twitter and even showing up to Section 8 Chicago events.
Oduro led the line early in 2012 as well, tallying three goals in his first five matches, one of which, apt to his Twitter handle @FreakyFast8 became the quickest goal scored in Fire history.
As the season went on though, his production waned along with his playing time. For every ball he galloped on to and slipped past a goalkeeper, there was one he would be the first to admit he needed to do better with.
When Chris Rolfe returned from injury and the team signed Dutch Designated Player Sherjill MacDonald at midseason, Oduro took on an almost exclusive substitute role for the Fire – something he hadn’t experienced at all in the previous year and a half.
Following the team’s first round postseason exit last October, Oduro voiced his desire to be starting. When it didn’t seem likely for that to occur in Chicago, a trade seemed eminent.
Even as rumors swirled going back to January’s SuperDraft, Oduro reported to Fire camp, happy to be amongst his teammates and there to work hard despite the more than public rumors about his pending trade to Columbus.
What more can all you can ask from a player?
To use one of Dom’s catch phrases, “at the end of the day”, the Fire helped move someone who didn’t see his future in Chicago on to another opportunity – something that any organization should do with a player that has done his part.
In return, the club did a good bit of business as well by gaining Dilly Duka (and working with the Crew on his salary) to bolster the left side of midfield as well as earning the MLS rights to out of contract U.S. international Robbie Rogers.
Should the California-born winger choose to return to the league, he could come into camp or become serious trade bait for the Fire to gain something in another area of need...
It will undoubtedly be strange to see Oduro, who has played practically every match for the Fire the past two seasons, donning Crew yellow but in a world that can often be unfair, this situation seems best for all parties.
Thank you for always representing the badge in the best possible way and I think every Fire fan wishes you the best (except when we play you).
Welcome Dilly Duka to the Fire family.