Orlando City announced today that striker Dom Dwyer is out for the remainder of the MLS is Back Tournament. The Designated Player, who will turn 30 on Thursday, has left the bubble at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort in order to get an MRI on his left knee.
Because Dwyer would need to go back into quarantine before rejoining the Lions, and return to full training before getting back on the pitch with his teammates, there isn’t enough time to do that after his MRI, so he’ll miss the remainder of the event.
Dwyer played in the first two matches of the group stage, assisting on a Chris Mueller goal against New York City FC, but sat out the Philadelphia Union match after experiencing tightness in his quad. Dwyer returned to training in the middle of this week but was not in the lineup last night against the Montreal Impact and has apparently sustained a knee injury that requires further examination.
In Dwyer’s absence, expect Tesho Akindele to continue to start at the top of Oscar Pareja’s formation. Akindele has two goals in the tournament, including the only tally in Orlando’s 1-0 Round of 16 win over the Montreal Impact. If not for an overzealous assistant referee, he would also have assisted on a Sebas Mendez tally last night. The Canadian has scored 11 goals in 33 league appearances since joining Orlando City, which is a decent, if unspectacular, return for an MLS striker. He also has a goal in the U.S. Open Cup (against the New England Revolution last season) and in the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament.
Players like Benji Michel, Santiago Patino, and rookie Darryl Dike become more important now as long as the Lions remain in the tournament. Dike made his debut with the Lions last night and brought good energy to the pitch, but he was a bit out of control at times in his short appearance.
Dwyer struggled through a slump in 2019, providing just seven goals and four assists in 27 appearances. This came on the heels of a good 2018 campaign, when he put 13 balls in the net in 26 games.
The club announced that further updates on Dwyer’s status will be provided as it becomes available.