Impact still searching for a big-name striker


Montreal Impact players run around the field as the team opens its pre-season training camp at Olympic Stadium on Friday. (Ryan Remiorz/CP)

MONTREAL — The Montreal Impact are still seeking a big name striker to lead the attack.

Coach Frank Klopas said Wednesday that Dominic Oduro, the wild-haired forward obtained a day earlier from Toronto FC for allocation money, will help with his speed, versatility and experience, but he is not expected to fill the shoes of departed Italian star Marco Di Vaio.

"We still need a No. 9 striker with experience," said Klopas. "Dom knows the league well and brings something different that is valuable to me.

"He’s always going to be a threat with his pace, whether it’s creating chances or opening space for our midfield players. But this is not it. We’re trying very hard to add another striker."

For now, Oduro gives Montreal a second experienced forward to go with Jack McInerney.

The Ghanaian has been a thorn in Montreal’s side, with four goals and two assists in seven games against the Impact in the last three seasons.

In the club’s first Major League Soccer home game as an expansion team in 2012, it was Oduro (with his head shaved) who scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw for the Chicago Fire to the dismay of more than 50,000 at Olympic Stadium.

"I remember that goal," said Oduro. "The atmosphere was amazing, fantastic.

"When you guys scored the first goal, you couldn’t hear anything. But we tied it, fortunately for me. I was very fortunate to score some goals against Montreal, but I’m here now and that story has changed."

Montreal is Oduro’s seventh team in 10 MLS seasons. His best campaign was 2013 when he had 13 goals in 34 games for Columbus. He had 12 goals in 2011 with Chicago, where he had Klopas as his coach.

Now he is among a group of former Fire players on the Impact with midfielders Dilly Duka and Justin Mapp and defenders Bakary Soumare and Krzysztof Krol.

"Frank knows me, and I think that’s one reason he brought me here," said Oduro. "Whatever role he wants, I’m ready. I know I have to compete for a spot. I’ve done that for years in this league."

He was the first of three players acquired on Tuesday to arrive at camp.

The Impact also sent Felipe Martins to New York for left back Ambroise Oyongo, who is competing for Cameroon in the African Cup of Nations, and midfielder Eric Anderson, who had to make a stop in New York after leaving the Red Bulls camp in Orlando, Fla.

Oduro showed up with a stylized, three-coloured Mohawk hairdo he calls a twist-hawk, which included TFC red. He promised a new do featuring Impact blue soon.

He scored only two goals in a 2014 campaign split between Columbus and Toronto. TFC coach Greg Vanney said his squad was deep at striker, and it was perhaps not the best fit with Oduro playing on the wing.

"I’ve known Dom since his rookie year in the league," said Vanney. "I like Dom a lot, so it’s definitely not a personal thing. It’s us trying to gain salary cap space."

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