KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Peter Vermes isn't surprised that his counterpart at Orlando City SC might want forward Dom Dwyer to return to the club for whom Dwyer starred during two loan spells in 2013.
But Sporting Kansas City's manager and technical director isn't happy about the way Orlando City manager Adrian Heath expressed those feelings this week, labelling them "uncalled for" and "unprofessional."
Heath, who was the Lions' head coach during their 2013 USL championship season, when the club was an affiliate of Sporting KC's, spoke about his former player during his weekly radio show on Tuesday.
“There is no secret that Dom wants to be here," Heath said. "We have tried to bring him here. We have done everything we can. Unfortunately, we can’t do it yet. But we will keep trying. I think this is his spiritual home. He wants to come back. We would love to have him, but we will have to wait and see how long it takes before we can do it.”
Dwyer, through a team representative, declined to comment on Heath's remarks. But they clearly didn't sit well with Vermes, especially the assertion that Dwyer – who Vermes said has not requested a trade – wants to move away from Sporting, where he signed an offseason contract extension after setting club records in 2014 with 22 league goals and 24 across all competitions.
“First of all, I think they're uncalled for,” Vermes told reporters after Thursday's training session. “I think that if you looked around the league, every team, every coach, would say there is a player on someone else's team that they would love to have. Dom is a very sought-after player by many teams in the league, not just [Orlando City]. I think it's unfortunate that it comes out publicly like that, because what it could do – and it hasn't, which is great – but it could, within a team, disrupt it.
“And I think that's the unprofessional aspect of it that I don't appreciate. I think that we've been extremely professional with them over our relationship.”
That relationship paid off handsomely for the Lions two years ago, as Dwyer, then a second-year professional after being taken in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft, broke the USL PRO record with 15 regular-season goals during his first loan stint before being recalled to Kansas City following Orlando City's elimination from the US Open Cup.
He had four more goals in a one-off return for the league title match – then went on to help Sporting's drive to their first MLS Cup title since 2000.
Since then, Dwyer has said nothing but good things about Kansas City and his hopes for a long career with Sporting. And Vermes stressed on Thursday that the situation has not hurt his team's chemistry.
“It could have created a problem," he said. "It did not, and it's not going to, because Dom understands this is where he is, and this is where he wants to be. He's been here, and he's been successful here.”
Vermes also disagreed with any suggestion that the Lions had been especially vigorous in any efforts to re-acquire Dwyer, who has four goals this season.
“When the comment comes out that they're calling us all the time, and all these things, that's not true," Vermes said. "Since we've loaned the player -- and I'm only talking about myself -- I've received, for sure, three, maybe four [calls] in – what is that time period, two to three years? Two and a half years? I don't know if that matches [Heath's] comment."
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Vermes said he had not contacted Heath to voice his displeasure, though.
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.