Dominic Oduro Providing Confidence During Tough Stretch

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Crew's Ghanaian attacker is the most confident player on the team and has not let recent results affect his thoughts on himself and his team.

Dominic Oduro has never lacked in self-confidence. The forward/winger came into Major League Soccer in 2006 with more self-belief that most of his veteran teammates and has backed it up with 46 career goals, including 13 last season in his first year with the Columbus Crew.

The player now known for his unique and creative hairstyles has seen both personal and team success in his nine years nine MLS, but has fallen on hard times during this campaign.

After a fast start, the Crew have struggled with no wins in their last seven games and three consecutive losses. On a team that hasn't scored in in 321 minutes, offensive weapon Oduro is yet to find the net this season, but his confidence remains as high as ever.

"We're doing good offensively, it's just a matter of trying to find the net," Oduro said after the 1-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps.

"I don't want to say it's a problem; it's something that we're trying to overcome. We'll do it, we'll flip this around. It's early right now and we'll flip it around."

The Black and Gold are creating chances in new head coach Gregg Berhalter's possession-based offense, but have been unable to finish the opportunities. Oduro believes it takes is one break to go in to turn things around.

"Once you open that account everything starts," Oduro said. "Confidence gets back, everybody starts singing the same tune and everything's going to be fine. We'll get the goals."

Even before the scoreless streak, the Crew struggled to find the back of the net.

After they were shutout by Toronto FC in their first loss of the season, Columbus scored three goals in as many games, including a desperation stoppage time equalizer and a penalty kick.

Does this put more pressure on the offensive players to begin to produce? Oduro believes they need to execute as they know they can.

"It tells us, you've got to go out there and at least make something happen and we will make something happen," he said.

"It's going to turn around eventually. We're not going to go south, we're gonna go up north. We're a strong team, we're a good team. It's just unfortunate."

The Ghanaian's confidence is admirable considering the recent slide, but the early success shows how dangerous this team can be when things are clicking.

Over the first three games, the Crew scored seven goals, including a 3-0 win on the road at D.C. United to begin the season. It appeared this team's free-flowing style of soccer would allow them to pull apart defenses, but opponents began to adjust to Columbus' new scheme.

After Toronto earned a 2-0 win in Columbus Crew Stadium by sitting back and countering the Crew, others have replicated this maneuver. The Black and Gold will have to break down their opponent, even when they park the bus, to start getting results, but the question is, how?

"It's just a matter of going back to the basics that we were doing before," Oduro said. "The ideas are there, we just have to implement them. The whole Gregg's formation and everything, it's a work in progress.

"In the beginning, it was working okay. I think teams didn't know how we were playing and I think right now they've cut into it a little bit and that's something we've got to work on."

After a tough stretch of three games in seven days, the Crew will hope to get some rest before traveling to take on the Portland Timbers. A fresher team with another week to improve hopes to be more clinical in front of goal.

Scoring goals requires confidence and Oduro has shown he does not lack in that department. His fellow attackers must feed on his constant assurance in his abilities to get things back on track.

With a defense allowing just over one goal per game, the Black and Gold could be a scary team if the goals start coming and the confidence begins to rise once again.

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