Now, with the team’s playoffs hopes looking increasingly slim, head coach Jason Kreis expects the striker to start paying off that hefty transfer fee by scoring his first goal with Lions at New England on Saturday (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE).
The re-arranged fixture – postponed by bad weather in Boston in March – is a battle of two teams desperate to get back into red-line contention, and Orlando will be without both leading scorer Cyle Larin and new Peruvian midfielder Yoshi Yotun because of international call-ups.
Dwyer will be the main man in Larin’s absence. He has yet to score after 263 minutes in purple, but now, ahead of his fifth game with the club, Kreis not only believes the US international is ready for the task, he is actively pushing his striker to make the big breakthrough.
Asked if he thought this was the right time for Dwyer to get back in the scoring column, Kreis said, “Yeah, it should be. Not to put any undue pressure on him, but I think he can handle it. I think he is a guy that can be pressured a little bit to score goals, and I think it’s time.
“He’s certainly training well, he’s playing well, and he’s getting chances in the game, and now it’s about putting them away.”
Even with Larin gone, Kreis thinks he still has options up top. Dwyer is a near certainty to start, and he could find either Carlos Rivas or Giles Barnes as his partner. Rivas got the start alongside Dwyer in last Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat to Vancouver, with Larin replacing him in the second half and scoring his 10th goal of the season before the Lions' winless run was extended to seven games.
So, with Larin away, does that simplify things for the trip to Gillette Stadium? “Yes, and no,” Kreis said. “We still have a player like Giles who can step into the striker position, which is much more his natural position rather than playing midfield for us.
“So it does still leave us with choices, and, as we get to this stage of the season, certainly the pressure is on us to make the right ones. We put a lot of consideration and time and energy into these choices.”
The City boss remains convinced the team is close to ending its recent barren run and is happy to be playing this weekend, even without Larin and Yotun.
“Right now where we’re at, and feeling like we’re in a rhythm with our play – we’ve been consistent with our performances but unfortunately haven’t had the results to go with them – it lends itself to playing again and not taking the weekend off,” he said. “We’re both missing some players, so we both go into this game and put our best foot forward. We believe in our players and we’ll see what happens.
“At this stage, it is basically do or die. For us now, it is all about this game in front of us, but New England are in that position, too, so it will be an interesting game.”