Dominic Oduro is making his presence felt in a big way among his new Columbus Crew teammates. The veteran forward would like nothing more than to continue that against his former team.
Oduro faces the Chicago Fire for the first time since an offseason deal on Saturday night, when the Crew go for their first victory at Toyota Park in 10 tries.
After scoring 18 goals and setting up five others in 66 regular-season games for the Fire over the last two seasons, Oduro was dealt to Columbus in February for midfielder Dilly Duka and the rights to midfielder Robbie Rogers.
"For the record, I never went to the coach (Frank Klopas) to ask to be traded," Oduro told the league's official website. "I just asked if I wasn't the guy for them, we should just move on."
The Ghanaian has done that. Oduro leads the Crew (2-1-3) with three goals and helped them secure draws in the last two contests to extend their unbeaten streak to four matches (1-0-3). He scored the equalizers in the 72nd minute of a 1-all draw against Philadelphia on April 6 and a 1-all draw at Montreal on Sunday.
"It's not just that he's scored three nice goals for us," midfielder Eddie Gaven said. "It's all the runs he makes off the ball creating so much more space for the guys playing underneath him, myself included."
Chicago forward Patrick Nyarko, Oduro's friend and countryman, isn't surprised at all. These are the kind of moves he expects from the Crew.
"That's one thing I admire most about them … they bring the right players and for some reason they always seem to jell," Nyarko said.
That's showed on the road, where the Crew are 2-1-1. They finished 4-9-4 as the visitors last year, including a pair of 2-1 losses at Chicago.
"We've spent a lot of time on the road and we feel confident," defender Tyson Wahl told the Crew's official website. "We're looking to go to Chicago and win again on the road."
That would be a big lift heading back home for three straight, but the Crew have lost four in a row at the Fire and are 0-5-4 at Chicago since a 4-1 victory on Oct. 7, 2006.
The Fire (1-4-1) are back in Bridgeview, Ill., after losing 2-1 to Houston on Sunday when the Dynamo set the MLS record for longest home unbeaten streak in all competitions at 35.
"We had chances, but we need to limit the goals,'' said Klopas, whose team has yielded a league-worst 12 goals. "We have given up easy goals out of situations, and that hurts you. Being on the road and giving up two goals in any game, you make it difficult for yourself.''
Having Arne Friedrich could help, but the German defender is still nursing a hip injury and uncertain to make his season debut.
The Fire could still give goalkeeper Sean Johnson more breathing room. They've scored five goals overall, three of which came in a 3-1 win over New York on April 7.
Duka, slowed by a hamstring injury, has yet to score in four games.
"Maybe over there with Duka it's taking time to click but I'm glad I'm here and clicking and enjoying playing with the guys," Oduro said.