It’s been a little over a year since Dom Dwyer joined Orlando City SC, with his move coming in late July of last season. Before that, he played for Sporting Kansas City and scored a fair number of goals for the team in the process. Since this Saturday will mark his first time playing at Children’s Mercy Park since his move to Orlando, I thought I’d go back and revisit some of his time there, as well as speculate on what we might see this weekend.
The last time Dwyer played for SKC was June 24, 2017. That night saw Kansas City beat the LA Galaxy courtesy of an Ike Opara bicycle kick and a 30-yard Roger Espinoza missile that was too hot for Clement Diop to handle. That game was at the StubHub Center however, and for Dwyer’s last home game as a Sporting player we have to go back just a little bit farther to June 10 when SKC drew 1-1 with the Montreal Impact.
While he didn’t score, Dom did hit the woodwork in the first half and was also denied several times by Evan Bush. His last goal for the club came on May 3 when he scored a brace against New York Red Bulls to give Sporting a 2-0 victory. Those would also be the last goals he scored in front of Sporting’s home crowd with the goals coming in the midst of a four-game home unbeaten run to start the season.
His first MLS game as a member of Orlando City came on July 29 in a 1-1 draw with Atlanta United. It took him awhile to get off the mark with his new club as he wouldn’t open his account until Sept. 16 against Atlanta United in a 3-3 thriller that saw him bag two goals and an assist. His first home goal would come just over a week later as he scored the fifth goal in the 6-1 thrashing of the New England Revolution, an absolute rocket that sent the assembled purple faithful into delirium. He’s continued his scoring ways this season, with 12 MLS goals thus far, four of which have been game winners.
It’ll be interesting to see how Dwyer is deployed in Saturday’s return to Children’s Mercy Park. Under James O’Connor, he’s almost exclusively been deployed as a lone striker. The differences have really been in how the rest of the team has lined up around him. O’Connor has mostly run a 4-2-3-1 or variations of it, to varying degrees of success. The formation does allow Dom to utilize his strength to hold up play while also trying to make runs in behind the defense, but doesn’t allow for interplay between two strikers. Realistically a 4-2-3-1 can be expected with the most changes probably coming in defense, since it would be unusual to see Jonathan Spector once again deployed as a left back.
Hopefully, it’s a happy return to Kansas City for our striker. A win would be fantastic, and since the Lions certainly need the points more than Sporting, maybe SKC will just let us have this one eh? Wishful thinking, but either way, it’ll probably be a bittersweet return for City’s talisman. Vamos Orlando.