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How Cyle Larin’s Possible Departure Can Impact Dom Dwyer’s Performance

If the Canadian indeed leaves Orlando City, Dwyer will probably be pushed to his favorite striker role, where he will have all the tools he needs to thrive.

MLS: Columbus Crew SC at Orlando City SC Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When Orlando City SC acquired Dom Dwyer from Sporting Kansas City last summer, expectations grew among Lions fans regarding a potentially lethal partnership between the returning forward and Cyle Larin, the club’s top goal scorer.

The duo had good moments and kept the confidence level high in the stands, but their much-hyped union may have lasted only a few months as Larin could be headed to Turkish club Besikitas in a very complicated and confusing saga that might come to a conclusion in the upcoming weeks.

If the Canadian indeed leaves, which seems almost certain at this point, it will be a blow to Orlando’s offensive firepower, but in a weird scenario of addition by subtraction, Larin’s departure could be the final move to unleash Dwyer’s potential in 2018.

To play with Larin, Dwyer, a target forward during most of his career, had to reshape his game, playing in more of a second forward role. Even though his scoring rate was not bad, with four goals in 12 matches, it was obvious that the Cuckfield native was operating as more of a play-maker, as he amassed four assists on his half-season with Orlando, more than he ever registered in any of his full-year campaigns in Kansas City.

With the presence of both forwards on the roster, Head Coach Jason Kreis uses a two-forward system that has fallen into disuse in recent years, after being almost a mandatory formation in 1990s and early 2000s.

Dwyer is a versatile forward, one that can adjust to his teammates, but there is no question that he is more effective when deployed as a striker so he can make use of his superb finishing skills inside the box. Playing this way he scored 58 goals in 136 games with Sporting Kansas City.

Without Larin, who is less malleable than his partner, Dwyer will be free to play his favorite advanced striker role and, hopefully, to return to the scoring form that turned him in to one of the best forwards in MLS and a U.S. Men’s National Team selection. Having talented and creative play-makers such as Sacha Kljestan, Yoshimar Yotún and Josué Colmán behind him in 2018 leaves Dwyer’s potential numbers up to the imagination.

Orlando City doesn’t exactly benefit from a potential departure of Larin, a player who scored 43 goals in three seasons, but to Dwyer, who has a chip on his shoulder now with his new contract, this could just be the move he needs to excel.