KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A common refrain among teams that employ a 4-3-3 formation is that you can’t have too many forwards. If Thursday was any indication, Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes certainly subscribes to that philosophy.
For the third straight year, Vermes used his first round pick on a forward, drafting Dom Dwyer from the University of South Florida with the 16th pick of Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft, adding the Englishman to a group that already incudes Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong and Soony Saad.
And although he already has multiple options at center forward, Dwyer has all the earmarks of the kind of the kind of striker Vermes prefers: speed, strength and a dogged attitude when it comes to going to goal.
“He’s another guy that plays with his back to the goal,” Vermes told reporters following the pick. “He is extremely courageous; he will stick his nose on the end of somebody’s foot to put the ball in the back of the net. He is very aggressive in that sense.”
Along those lines, Dwyer compared himself to another scrappy English forward: Luke Rodgers from the New York Red Bulls.
“I’m kind of similar to [Rodgers] but less aggressive,” Dwyer said. “I’ll stick my head in if I need to. I’ll do anything I can to score.”
Vermes said he thought Dwyer could play wide but was more likely to play centrally in the 4-3-3. The 5-foot-9 striker scored 16 goals last season and was named Big East Offensive Player of the Year as a junior before leaving school early to sign a Generation adidas contract.
As a member of Generation adidas, Dwyer won’t count against the salary cap but will occupy an international roster spot. And although it may seem Sporting could have addressed more pressing needs with their top pick, Vermes was adamant that forward depth will be crucial in 2012 after losing Omar Bravo in the offseason.
Dwyer will be competing with US national team forwards Bunbury and Sapong, who was MLS Rookie of the Year in 2011, but Vermes said there was the distinct possibility of losing both to various international commitments throughout the season, making Dwyer valuable to a team seemingly set at center forward.
“Obviously, we’ve got a lot of guys right now away with national team duty and you just never know where you stand regarding health,” Vermes said. “You’ve got to be careful, especially with the way we play. I don’t want us to fall off from where we are.”