The Crew took another step in finalizing its roster for the 2013 season Monday morning by completing a long-waited trade with the Chicago Fire, swapping winger Dilly Duka and the rights to Robbie Rogers for forward Dominic Oduro.
Oduro brings 33 career goals in MLS to the Black & Gold, 18 of which have come in the past two seasons with the Fire. The Ghanaian forward's speed brings a different dynamic to the Crew attack.
"I think he adds something to our style of play," Head Coach Robert Warzycha said. "He's a player that scored 12 goals two years ago and scored six last season. He has something not too many players have in this League, he has speed. He's very fast, and obviously he's going to give us some other options to play a little differently."
"Dom's got a lot of experience in the League so far. He's been a starter in Chicago. He's started at other clubs he's been with. He's also come off the bench at most of this other clubs. He gives us some variables coming off the bench or as a starter," Technical Director Brian Bliss added.
"It doesn't matter if he's a starter or not, teams have to respect his speed. He's shown he can put some goals in the back of the net. He gives us some other weapons in the final third."
While it isn't clear yet whether Oduro will start for the Black & Gold or play the super-sub role he held last season in Chicago, but the speedy striker is looking forward to donning the Black & Gold.
"Right now, I'm a Crew fan and I'm very happy to join the Crew. Hopefully, I'll be able to put some goals in the net for the Crew next season," Oduro said over the phone.
Playing for his fifth MLS club since 2006, Oduro believes he will have no trouble adapting to his new environment.
"I think I'll be able to adapt to the style of play," he said. "I like the way they play a 4-4-2, which really suits me a lot. I don't think adapting will be that hard."
The Crew hasn't had a speed option in the attack in some time, but Bliss says that the new dynamic won't affect the team's style of play.
"It's not like we're going to drop everything and start playing long balls over the top and let him run on to them," Bliss explained. "But I think he's a guy who can tightrope the offside line and be the benefactor of through passes from Eddie [Gaven] and [Federico] Higuaín and situations like that where he'll be testing that backline. Once he's gone, there's no catching him."
When asked when the last time the Crew had a player as fast as Oduro, Bliss showed little hesitation.
"It was probably 1996 and a guy by the name of Brian Bliss."
GLÁUBER MAKES TRAINING DEBUT
Brazilian defender Gláuber Berti participated for the first time with the Black & Gold since signing with the club on January 22. The well-traveled centerback was happy to finally meet his new teammates and start preparing for the 2013 season.
"It was really perfect," Gláuber said. "I got to talk with the some of the guys and started training. I hope I can stay 100-percent in training because I need to get my physical strength and conditioning. I am happy to be here and I try to do my best all the time."
The Brazilian made a strong first impression on Head Coach Robert Warzycha, who is looking forward to using him during the team's upcoming trip to Orlando for the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
"[Gláuber] is a big guy," Warzycha said. "He's clean on the ball. He uses both feet, left and right. He speaks English which helps a lot. I'm looking forward to seeing him more in Florida."
SANCHEZ JOINS CREW CAMP
Argentine midfielder Matias Sánchez arrived in Columbus on Sunday for a trial with the Crew. The 25-year-old most recently played with Estudiantes of the Argentine Primera División, where he helped the La Plata side win the pestigious Copa Libertadores in 2009.
"He's here, trying out for us and we'll see how good he can do," Head Coach Robert Warzcyha explained. "He's a good defensive central midfielder, so we'll see how he fits in our system and whether we should sign him or not."
Sánchez will travel with the team to Orlando where Warzycha will get a feel of what the Argentine could potentially bring to the Crew midfield.
"That's the reason we're going to Florida: to play some games," the Head Coach said. "Obviously, it will be good for everybody, but especially the guys like Sånchez that are trying out so that they can show what they can do."
In addition to the 2009 Copa Libertadores crown, Sánchez's resumé includes a role in helping Argentina to the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup title.
"He's a relatively young player," Warzycha said. "He's only 25, but he brings experience. That's something you can't buy. You have to play a certain amount of games to get that experience. He was with Argentina's U-20s playing in some important games, so I think we're going to see his maturity and maybe he can make the team better."