COLUMBUS, Ohio - It has been only two months since midfielder Dominic Oduro joined the Columbus Crew via a trade that sent Dilly Duka to the Chicago Fire, but you would not have been able to tell based on how well he linked up with Eddie Gaven for the equalizer in the Crew's 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.
In the 72nd minute of the match, Gaven took a pass from Danny O'Rourke, spotted Oduro heading toward the goal in the north end of Crew Stadium and flicked the ball ahead with the outside of his right foot in a play that made it seem as if Gaven and Oduro had been playing together for years.
"I took a touch and I saw Dom make a really good run to the right side of the box," Gaven said after the game. "I just played the ball to him and he did the rest."
Knowing their spots on the field helped both of them. After making "eye contact" with Gaven and receive the pass, Oduro was nearing the end line when he saw Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath trying to protect the near post.
It did not matter. Oduro managed to put a wicked shot into the back of the net.
"I was just praying for glory, hitting the ball from that [tough] angle," Oduro said. "I was hoping that it would go off somebody, to tuck it in. I'm glad it went in."
Oduro now has two goals in five games for the Crew to equal the goal output Duka had in 45 games over three seasons in Columbus. It is a promising start to the season for Oduro, who made up for an earlier miss in the game with his tying goal.
Crew coach Robert Warzycha showed his faith in Oduro by starting him at forward on Saturday over Jairo Arrieta, who missed the 2-1 win vs. D.C. United on March 23 while with the Costa Rican national team. Warzycha admitted after the match that while both players have quality, he just could not go against starting Oduro.
"You can't go wrong with Dominic or Arrieta," Warzycha said. "Both are very good players and having success this year. It's probably not right to put Dominic on the bench."