KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Dom Dwyer's first loan stint to Orlando City SC ended in a bitter blowout loss. Now, in a one-match-only return to the Lions, he has a chance to help them lift a championship trophy.
"It's going to be fun," Dwyer said on Wednesday, shortly after learning that he would be loaned back to Sporting's affiliate for Saturday's USL PRO title game against the Charlotte Eagles. "Obviously, they've done really well to get the game at home, and I'm excited about it, I didn't think I was going to get to go. I thought I'd just be wishing them luck."
Dwyer opened the season on loan to the Lions, setting a USL PRO single-season scoring record with 15 goals during his time there, and was recalled to Kansas City after the Chicago Fire routed the Lions 5-1 in a US Open Cup quarterfinal on June 26.
"I didn't leave on good terms, with that loss to Chicago," said Dwyer, who ended the season sharing the USL PRO Golden Boot with Pittsburgh's Jose Angulo and earlier this week was named to the All-League first team. "It's nice to go back and get one final game and make it right, and it's a big one."
While Sporting will be without four players on international duty for their home match Saturday against Columbus (8:30 pm ET, watch on MLS Live) and just lost winger Kei Kamara on a transfer to Championship side Middlesbrough, Kansas City manager Peter Vermes said Orlando City's roster situation is even more dire.
"They called me last week after they won [in the semifinals] and said, 'Look, we're decimated in the forward position with injuries, and a red card on one of the players, and then one player on international duty,'" Vermes said on Wednesday. "So they've got one guy. They asked if there was a chance that either Dom or C.J. [Sapong] could go, and they particularly wanted Dom because he'd been there as long as he had.
"I said it probably wasn't the greatest time for us, either, but we have options, so I just feel obligated based on our partnership and how well we've worked with each other."
Dwyer is coming off a solid week with Sporting, in both MLS and CONCACAF Champions League play.
He made a long run to draw a penalty, leading to Soony Saad's second goal of the match, in Kansas City's 2-0 away CCL victory over Honduras' CD Olimpia on Aug. 27.
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Dwyer's strength and aggressive instincts make him hard for defenses to handle both on and off the ball, Vermes said after that match.
"He makes great diagonal runs, and he's a kind of like [Carlos] Tévez in that he's a little bull," he said. "It's hard for guys to get around him. It's different for a 6-foot-2 guy to go against a guy who's a lot smaller but is a bulk of muscle."
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.