Dominic Oduro was named the MLS Player of the Month, following being named the MLS player of the week after his fine performance in Dallas. Oduro's September numbers speak for themselves, three goals and two assists helped lead the Crew to a 4-1-0 record during the month.
Oduro now has 12 goals and 3 assists on the year. His goal total leads the team and is the most since Andres Mendoza's in 2011. The goal tally also matches his career high, set with the Chicago Fire in 2011.
Several players have shown improved form under interim head coach Brian Bliss and Oduro's goalscoring outburst is perhaps the most noteworthy. It hasn't been a position switch that has done it. He's made his mark at right wing, a position he's struggled with this year.
Looking deeper at the stats, Oduro has gotten to attack goal more in September. Before the month started, Oduro has averaged 2.5 shots per game. During September, that jumped to 3.4 shots per game. His attacking mentality has brought up his yearly shots per game total to 2.7.
So if Oduro is getting more shots, the next question is why. It likely has more to do with the up tempo game that Bliss has instructed the team on. Oduro has become a key outlet for goalkeeper Matt Lampson and the defense. The ball is quickly played to him and he can then attack.
Oduro has gotten two of his goals off the transition. His goal in Montreal was off of a turnover, but his goal in Dallas was pure speed. He's a solid finisher when in the open field and the Crew's up tempo game suits him well.
Now that Oduro is getting into dangerous spots, he's also drawing more defenders to him. With defenses collapsing, he can now pick up his head and find an open player. He's supplied two passes across the 18 yard box to set up goals. Defenses are struggling with his speed, play catchup, and leave someone open.
Can Oduro's October match the stats from his award winning September? It's doubtful given that defenses will start to play him differently and slow his speedy play. However, that doesn't mean that he will be ineffective. With defenses having to key on Oduro, that just leaves more space for Federico Higuain, Jairo Arrieta, Bernardo Anor, and anyone else who crashes the penalty area.
The Crew won't need a repeat of Oduro's heroics, but they will need someone else to step up. Who will put their name up for October's Player of the Month.