Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Oduro makes playoff breakthrough with perfect timing

Dominic Oduro has got great timing, that’s for sure.

Prior to this Sunday, Oduro had taken part in 10 MLS Cup Playoffs games. He’d won six of those, but his personal contribution had yet to be reflected into statistics.

But that was prior to this Sunday.

The score sheet at Red Bull Arena was as clear an indication as any that Oduro was a key cog of the Impact’s 2-1 win against the Red Bulls. Disciplined in the defensive phase, but always wary of offering an outlet for a Montreal transition down the flanks, Oduro provided two assists, the first of his career in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

“Winning this game felt amazing,” Oduro said postgame. “Really amazing. New York is a really tough team to play. For us to come here, stay focused and do what we do best is a great feeling.”

This was a just reward for Oduro, who kept working hard even through a rough patch this summer, when he only made the bench in seven of eight games from July 13 to August 24. He then proceeded to assist a Nacho Piatti goal in Toronto on the 27th and never looked back.

Oduro would be the first to tell you that when you make playoffs, you start anew. But even then, the Bleu-blanc-noir did some great things during the regular season that inspired certain moments since the playoffs started. (Oduro, for example, contributed a goal or an assist in five of the Impact’s six wins this season in stadiums where the team had never won – four in the regular season, two in the playoffs.)

“Starting with D.C., we’ve been playing really well,” Oduro said. “The group is really tight. We’ve been doing that in every game that we’ve played. Our mindset is really good, and we’re very committed. We know that we have something good going.”

The Impact has been up to the task with the stakes high, and so has Oduro, all season long. He provided a goal and an assist in the season opener in Vancouver. A goal and an assist when the Bleu-blanc-noir trailed 4-2 in Columbus. That assist at BMO Field. Two goals in crucial games against San Jose and Orlando. Now two huge assists at Red Bull Arena. And there’s probably more where that came from, starting with the first leg of the Eastern Conference Championship against Toronto FC at the Olympic Stadium on November 22 at 8pm (TICKETS).

“Going to [MLS Cup] is not done yet,” Oduro said. “We’ve still got a long way to go. But right now, we’re calm and we celebrate. And we’re already getting ready for the next game.”