The Orlando City forward came on as a second-half sub and brought the All-Stars level at 1-1 with Real Madrid in the 87th minute, throwing himself at a loose ball and heading home after Dax McCarty nodded a Diego Valeri corner off the post. The goal sent the match to penalties, where Dwyer promptly had the first spot kick saved en route to the All-Stars’ 1(4)-1(2) shootout loss in front of 61,428 fans at Soldier Field.
His miss set the tone for some sloppy penalties for the All-Stars, but it didn’t exactly keep Dwyer down after the match.
“It was a fun night,” he said. “Obviously very excited to get a goal. It was just a real pleasure to be here – we have some real world-class players.”
After his dramatic summer, it was fitting that Dwyer had such an active All-Star Game. Born and raised in England, the 27-year-old became a US citizen earlier this year, received his first international call-up in June, scored his first USMNT goal in July and was then traded to Orlando from Sporting Kansas City in a record-breaking deal last week.
Following all that upheaval, it was comforting for Dwyer – who was held off the board his first game with Orlando last week – to get back on the scoresheet on Wednesday.
“Just blacked out, just blacked out,” he said when asked about his goal. “I think Dax headed it, hit the post, it bounced around and I was just there at the right place, right time to head it in.”
Dwyer and Orlando teammate and fellow All-Star Kaká will now link back up with the Lions ahead of their game on Saturday at Montreal (7:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE in the US | TVA Sports in Canada). The match at the 10th-place Impact should give Dwyer, who is transitioning from playing in the middle of SKC’s three-forward setup to a two-striker formation in Orlando, a chance to build on his new partnership with Cyle Larin after the duo put in a somewhat lackluster shift in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Atlanta.
“It’s quite exciting. Obviously I’ve got to get used to playing with some new teammates, a different formation is something you’ve always got to learn, but I’ve been used to playing two forwards when I was growing up,” he told MLSsoccer.com earlier this week. “Having Cyle Larin and Kaká around you, that’s only something that’s going to benefit you as a player. I think people have got to give it time. I don’t think it’s something that you can expect to be a league-winning combination in the first game, but I think in time you’ll see that we can get it done.”