Orlando City entered the secondary transfer window this month with one big need in mind: more goals. The club sought far and wide for the answer, and eventually settled on one man: Dom Dwyer. While the Lions didn’t originally see their approach to Sporting Kansas City as anything more than just kicking the tires, it wound up being potentially everything they were looking for — and then some.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday for the first time since the trade went down, Orlando City Head Coach Jason Kreis said the club “went over the top” in securing Dwyer, the second highest goal scorer in Major League Soccer since 2014.
“We really showed our intent and our purpose to get a player that we very much value,” Kreis said. “And we hope that he’s going to bring some change on the field, but as well bring fresh energy to the guys that are here.”
Kreis didn’t commit to saying whether or not Dwyer would start for the Lions this afternoon when they take on Atlanta United FC at Bobby Dodd Stadium, or even how he would use the Dwyer with Cyle Larin and/or Carlos Rivas today and moving forward. Though Kreis said the last thing the coaching staff needed was another headache right now, this is at least one worth having to worry about.
“He’s a striker, so he’ll be one of the two spots up top — if we play with two strikers. We may play with three,” Kreis said about using Dwyer against Atlanta. “But if we consider playing with two strikers, then he’ll be one of the players considered for one of those two roles. If we play with one high striker the he’ll be one of the players considered for that role.”
The Lions, when healthy, have played primarily a 4-4-2 system, usually with Larin and Rivas up top. Now with Dwyer in the fold, he could simply replace Rivas with Dwyer and move the Colombian to the midfield or even the bench, where he could become a dangerous weapon for Kreis in the second half of games, as we’ve seen him utilized a couple of times already this season.
Kreis mentioned the team could play with three strikers. Could a 4-3-3 work? Possibly. Dwyer is a strong player from the right side, and can play the ball off of his right foot and cut inside from the wings. That could set up runs for Larin and potentially even Rivas, who on the left side can still break down fullbacks and whip in crosses off of his left foot. This would keep the back line well stretched out for 90 minutes, opening up more lanes for Orlando to pull into the box, which the club has struggled to do lately, and already that’s an attacking front with some of the best pace in the league to throw at teams.
In theory, it’s a solid plan, but then you run the risk of banking too much on Kaká having to track too often on the left side. Not that he can’t, but for 90 minutes? If anything, we’ve learned this season that Kaká is, in fact, getting older and his legs are slowing down just a bit.
Kreis also mentioned the possibility of one striker, which would likely be a 4-2-3-1 setup with Larin up top, then Rivas-Kaká-Dwyer as the three higher midfielders. Anything that puts Kaká in the middle and gives him a little more space to roam — now that defenders have another threat on the field to worry about, too — might be more beneficial to Orlando in that it would give him the opportunity to string more passes forward.