Who will be the Fire's go-to-guy this season? | (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
There can be little denying that soccer is as much of a team sport as any, but often times a single player can help define a season for a club. If you look back to 2000, Mamadou Diallo was that factor for the Tampa Bay Mutiny as the Senegalese striker notched an outstanding 26 goals for the now defunct franchise. We’ve also seen it with Landon Donovan in 2008, who scored 20 goals in 25 games in a season that somehow still resulted in the LA Galaxy still missing out on the MLS playoffs. Jeff Cunningham provided a similar story for FC Dallas in 2009 by scoring for fun but still seeing his side miss out on the postseason.
In similar fashion, Houston Dynamo reject Dominic Oduro was absolutely stellar for the Chicago Fire last season in his debut season for the men in red. The Ghanaian scored 12 goals as he and the rest of the team fell agonizingly short of a playoff spot. Regardless, his team MVP honors and impressive play throughout the season were a huge reason for the team’s success both in the US Open Cup and in the latter stages of the MLS season.
So who will step up and make their mark this year for the Fire? Continue reading
Pavel Pardo attempts a free-kick in injury time. | Image source: MountRoyalSoccer.com
Playing in yet another Major League Soccer expansion side’s home opener, the Fire came from a goal down on Saturday afternoon to snatch a point against the Montreal Impact in front of a record 58, 912 crowd. Despite earning just a point, the visitors can leave Montreal content with a draw. Impact captain made history in the 56th minute by scoring the club’s first home goal, heading in Sanna Nyassi’s cross to send the home crowd into raptures. Continuing where he left off last season, however, Dominic Oduro spoiled the party for Montreal by grabbing a valuable equalizer in the 75th minute.
Montreal defender Josh Gardner nearly stole the headlines with one of the last kicks of the match, but his 35-yard effort in the 95th minute cannoned off Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi’s left post in the 95th minute. In the end, a point will be viewed as a good result having been outplayed for many parts of this match.
Here’s what we learned from Saturday’s draw: Continue reading
Last season’s most valuable player for the Chicago Fire, one of the league’s most improved players during the course of the campaign, and one of the reasons why every supporter of the men in red is quietly confident of a successful season in 2012… he goes by the name of Dominic Oduro.
Long gone are the days of Oduro being an ‘incapable finisher’ or an ‘unreliable forward’. FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo’s former reject found his home in Chicago last season and less than a year later, the Fire look set to continue to reap the rewards of taking a risk on the Ghanaian striker. Oduro enjoyed a terrific season last year, scoring a team high 12 league goals, as well as vital goals in the US Open Cup. Silencing doubters was never his priority, but he managed to do that too.
After becoming the first player to score more than ten goals in a season for the Fire since Damani Ralph, what’s next for Dominic Oduro? Continue reading
“I didn’t know that one day I’d get a chance to play with the Fire. I’m just happy to be the winner out of everyone. Every player’s dream is to be a professional with the team they loved and rooted for when they were young. I’m really excited for the opportunity to join the team for preseason.” - Pareskevas Pantazopoulos, winner of the Fire’s annual open tryout (1/19)
“It’s been a dream ever since I was young to be a professional soccer player. I’m super excited and super happy to be with the Fire.” – Orr Barouch on signing with the Chicago Fire (3/14)
“It was absolutely important to get the win at home. Winning here is one of the things we are focused on changing. We got the best fan base in the league and we need to do our part in and be responsible for our actions on the field. We hope to create an environment and mentality that refuse to lose.” – Logan Pause after the Fire’s 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City in its home opener (3/26)
“I was very, very excited. And when that happens, you don’t really think. You’re kind of just having fun and that’s what I was doing.” – Jalil Anibaba after his “guise through the smoke” stunned Colorado in a USOC play-in match. (3/31) Continue reading