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Is The Dom Dwyer-Cyle Larin Partnership Starting to Click?

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The duo linked up better against D.C. United and showed signs that they can indeed succeed together.

MLS: Orlando City SC at D.C. United Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive production outside of Cyle Larin has been an issue for Orlando City SC in 2017. With 28 MLS matches played, the Lions are one of only three teams to score fewer than 30 goals and in 11 of the 29 times the team found the back of the net it was through the Canadian.

Orlando’s plan to improve its firepower was executed in the secondary transfer window as the club sent a huge amount of allocation money to Sporting Kansas City to receive Dom Dwyer in return.

Expectations were that Dwyer, a proven MLS striker, would not only add a secondary scoring source to the team but also be part of a prolific partnership with Larin. In their first 207 minutes together, spread over four matches, the duo didn’t seem to get along so well, but last Saturday, in the 2-1 road win over D.C. United, things apparently started to change.

In the 19th minute, Dwyer made a good play from the left and crossed for a Larin tap-in score on the first play where the two forwards combined to end in the back of the net.

“I’ve been saying it for a while and I really believe we can have a really strong partnership,” Dwyer commented after the match. “We’re still learning from each other, we’re still growing and we took some good steps tonight.”

The idea of putting two good players together sometimes bumps up against their skill sets or in the way the like to play. To work well with Larin, Dwyer had to change his style a little bit, transitioning from the target forward he was in Kansas City to a second forward role, playing underneath the Canadian, besides having to build chemistry with the other offensive players.

“It’s different,” he admitted. “You just have to get used to the players. I didn’t have the ideal start and the nose (surgery) set me back a little bit but things are starting to come together and obviously we have a very good side here and I believe in the squad.”

If Dwyer and Larin will become one of the best attacking duos of the league as many expect, only time will tell. But the first sign was promising and the next step for their partnership to progress is obvious: having the Englishman scoring his first goal since his arrival in Orlando.

“It was great that we had success and I scored but there were a couple of other plays where I gave him the ball and he could have scored,” said Larin, who is now Orlando’s all-time top goalscorer. “It’s getting better each game and I think he’s going to score one when I give it to him. It’s going to get better as much as we play together.”