Fire deals Oduro for Columbus' Duka

Fire deals Oduro for Columbus' Duka
February 3, 2013, 5:30 pm
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Len Ziehm

The Fire’s first trade since the preseason started is turning out to be one of the strangest deals in all of sports.

The two key players involved in the swap announced the trade via their Twitter accounts, long before either of their clubs made it official.

In the transaction the Fire acquired midfielder Dilly Duka and the Columbus Crew landed striker Dominic Oduro. Duka said he was headed to the Fire’s second preseason training came in Ventura, Calif. He was Columbus’ first-round draft choice in 2010 and joins a crowded cast of Fire midfielders.

The Fire, meanwhile, is giving up their Golden Boot winner of 2011. Oduro provided the Fire some much-needed offense after coming over from the Houston Dynamo one game into the 2011 season.

The speedster from Ghana was a target for boobirds in Houston, especially after he missed an easy chance in the Dynamo’s season opener. He was immediately effective with the Fire, however, scoring 12 goals and becoming a finalist for Major League Soccer Comeback Player-of-the-Year, a prize that eventually went to Los Angeles’ David Beckham.

Oduro added six goals last season, most of them early in the campaign. Down the stretch he lost his starting job thanks to the acquisitions of Chris Rolfe and Dutch striker Sherjill MacDonald.

The Fire may end up missing Oduro, though Rolfe and MacDonald form a potentially effective pairing. Oduro had a goal and an assist in the first preseason match, a 2-1 win over the Florida Gulf Coast college team. He thanked Fire fans for their support in his departing message.

Fire coach Frank Klopas admitted interest in Duka after the Florida portion of the preseason ended on Jan. 30. Where he’ll fit into the lineup, however, is uncertain.