Dom Dwyer to Orlando: what it means and what is next. / by Harrison Crow

By Harrison Crow (@harrison_crow)

After years of chasing Dom Dwyer, Orlando City got their guy. They sent a whole helluva lot of various pieces of allocation, financials, and back-end laden incentives to Kansas City for the newly minted US international striker.

Aside from Dwyer being a good striker—and we’ll get to that in a second—he has a lot of various marketing appeal to him. He went to the University of South Florida, is newly capped by the US men's national team, and still garners good feelings in Orlando from 2013 when he scored 15 goals in only 13 total appearances for the Lions while on loan. I think most of us get the appeal for Orlando.

Looking back over the last four seasons there is a lot to appreciate as Paul Carr reflects upon in his embedded tweet above… but digging deeper there is even more there.

Dom Dwyer and his percentage of his team's goals has been crucial to the success of Kansas City over the last four seasons. Aside from two rival, red vs blue New York strikers, Bradley Wright-Phillips and David Villa, no one has really held candle to Dwyer over his tenure in MLS.

For those of you surprised not to see Sebastian Giovinco in the graph above, remember that his value isn't solely tied to expected goals but rather expected goals plus expected assists (a grand total of 58.03 over two and a half seasons). Additionally, he has had a ton of help in carrying said load from Jozy Altidore. But this isn’t about either of those two.

The next guy on the list is his new would-be strike partner, Cyle Larin. While a lot of folks seem certain this move sets-up Larin to be sold in the coming weeks or at least before summer’s end, that doesn't necessarily have to be true.

Jason Kreis has shown preference to the 4-4-2 diamond formation since years ago in Salt Lake, and has only started a lone in striker three matches (at least on paper) this season. The problem has been the pairings.

Looking at Orlando players who have played the striker position the last two seasons, we can see that the options have been largely inadequate. This has pushed the bulk of the load to Larin.


Will Larin and Dwyer be able to work out a system in which both will have scoring opportunities? That’s on them to work out, with some help from Kreis and Kaka.

They have different styles, which suggests they can play together. They do possess a few similar traits; they like to push the back line, both tend to be “downhill” runners, and they pick up a full head of steam when they get the ball at their feet. Still, each have their own niches. Dwyer has a tendency to drop deep to pick up the ball and go for the counter, while Larin tends to mix-and-match that with hold up play that draws parallels to the aforementioned Altidore.

With indications that Kaka is headed out after this season, this move seems to signal an “all-in” approach for Orlando. They have yet to taste the playoffs with Kaka, and this might be the move that gets them there. After dropping below the playoff line last weekend, it would seem the loss pushed this deal to completion. Currently 538 forecasts OCSC’s probability at approximately 25% at reaching the playoffs, with SportsClubStats puttingthem slightly lower at 17%.

Of course the added benefit Dwyer brings the organization is a long term piece, who, at 26, is in his prime and with community ties that indicate he should be a cornerstone on which to build upon when—and it’s only a matter of when—Larin jumps to Europe and Kaka retires.