Dominic Oduro's wild dash across North America continued today, with news that he has joined the Montreal Impact in exchange for allocation money. Montreal is the 7th MLS destination for the Ghanian international, as he has spent time with FC Dallas, New York Red Bulls, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew and Toronto.
Initially when Oduro landed in Toronto he became a fan favourite, and to many remains rated highly. This was because he appeals to the most North American sports instinct found in soccer: speed. There were a couple of matches, especially early on, when he found himself matched against a defender who simple couldn't handle him. The results were nothing short of spectacular. It was like watching a real live version of the roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.
Unfortunately, once Oduro beat the players in question he exposed his greatest weakness: a finishing ability. He only scored two goals with the club last season, which seems more than a little insane considering how many chances he was able to create. Between himself and Jackson, Toronto's wide game was wear goals went to die as the season wore on.
One of his saving graces, however, was the fact that he was actually a quite decently setup man. He had 5 assists with Toronto, and likely contributed to at least a few more goals as a player in the buildup. Being able to whip down the wing and provide a cross was likely one of the reason's Toronto retained him. Not to mention the fact that they also protected him in the MLS Expansion Draft.
With Oduro's departure, even before it, Toronto is looking fairly thin on the wings. Remaining in the lineup are Dan Lovitz and Jackson, both who have proven they can provide decent play but neither are real threats. Considering Greg Vanney likes to play a very north/south game they are also unlikely to fit very well in that sort of structure, either. Jonathan Osorio is also in the conversation out wide, although one can hope Vanney has figured out that he works better in the middle. Nelsen also, shockingly, seemed to favour him out wide.
There is obviously the potential, as well, that the allocation money Toronto acquired in this move as well as the Kyle Bekker deal is being put towards another play out wide. This is something Toronto has mentioned in the past as a potential target for the team. Unfortunately, with the European window closing, there aren't that many top notch wingers in MLS. Dominic Oduro is likely above average in terms of the overall game he brings.
Potentially, this could mean the team is building for a different formation this year. That would make sense, especially considering how many options are present up front and in the middle of the park. Even if Gilberto is not retained, something that looks all but inevitable now, the team will likely play two up front. Giovinco will sit behind them, while Jonathan Osorio and Michael Bradley are also likely to start in the middle.
The barber shops in Toronto may be rejoicing at this move, but there is undoubtedly another bald spot in Toronto's roster. Even I dislike myself for writing that one.