KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The way Dom Dwyer sees it, acting professional doesn't mean being serious all the time.
Crashing teammates' interviews with a phantom recorder, faking a hamstring pull in training on April Fool's day, having a laugh at whatever's being written or said about him – these things make Sporting Kansas City's young English center forward happy, and keeps him loose.
“We all love playing, so I feel like you should have fun at the same time while you're doing it,” Dwyer told reporters after a training session on Tuesday. “So I think people get that confused sometimes with me not taking things seriously, or taking things the wrong way. I think it's more people reading into it rather than me not being focused and ready.
“You always see me when I play,” he went on. “I have that right mindset. I might be smiling, laughing and having fun while I'm doing it, but that's what makes me better. I play better if I have fun, and that's what people forget a lot of the time. Some people are so serious all the time; they forget to enjoy themselves.”
With two game-winning goals in his last two matches, including an emphatic stoppage-time drive off the bench in Saturday's 3-2 victory at Colorado, a Goal of the Week nominee, Dwyer has especial cause to be happy of late. But his businesslike, even angry, reaction after the late blast into the roof of the net against the Rapids showed off another side of his personality.
If he's not on the pitch, he isn't happy. And once he gets out there, he's looking to work off some frustrations.
“Obviously, as a player you want to play, and I was frustrated,” he said. “I still came in with the right attitude, the right mindset. Sometimes you have to show that you want to be on the field, and that's just how it goes. I wanted to help the team win, and I was pleased inside, obviously. But I was frustrated, and I didn't feel like celebrating. I just did my job, and that was it.”
When people do their jobs in the spotlight, though, there's never any shortage of performance reviews from fans and detractors alike. It's part of the business, Dwyer said, and he and his teammates don't give it too much thought.
“If I would have skied that one over the bar at the end, people would still be saying, 'Oh, we still haven't got goals from forwards,' that kind of stuff,” said Dwyer, who opened his 2014 account from the penalty spot in a 1-0 win over San Jose on March 22. “That's how it goes. That's how our team is. People read into stuff that too much, and it's really entertaining to us. We just want to win games.”
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Dwyer's goals have enabled Sporting to do that – and raised hopes that he'll catch fire this year like he did during his record-breaking loan spells to Orlando City SC in 2013 when he scored 15 goals in 13 appearances.
“People forget that I started pretty slow in Orlando,” he said. “I had one or two goals in like the first five games, and after that it just kind of went through. So hopefully, it'll improve and you'll see more.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.