It was announced today that Dom Dwyer will be returning to Orlando City this weekend for their USL Pro Championship game against the Charlotte Eagles. Dwyer had been named to the USL Pro's all league team for scoring 15 league goals in just 13 games with the club.
The effort to bring back Dwyer had apparently been worked on for a few days from reading the Tweets from Orlando City president Philip Rawlins, who when asked on the 2nd if it was too late to get Dwyer back for the finals said "We are speaking to SKC, fingers crossed."
Today Rawlins broke the news on his Twitter account before the official announcement.
The news was greeted by frustration from the KC side of things. Comments I initially saw on Twitter were upset with Dwyer being gone for an important game this weekend against the Columbus Crew. Dwyer's absence compounds KC's current roster issues, as they'll be missing not just Dwyer, but four players on national team duty (Matt Besler and Graham Zusi with the US, Mechack Jerome and Peterson Joseph with Haiti). That combined with the recent departure of Kei Kamara leaves KC with a thinner squad to choose from. But while Dwyer has been a key contributor off the bench mainly since his return from Orlando, KC does have depth to cover for him. With Soony Saad and Claudio Bieler likely to start, that still leaves KC with three forwards, Teal Bunbury, Jacob Peterson, and CJ Sapong, one of which will start in Kamara's spot. The other two will likely be available off the bench.
The timing is certainly bad but I'm not mad about the move. The affliate association this year with Orlando has been fairly one-sided. Especially since the recalling of Dwyer and waiving of Yann Songo'o. Kevin Ellis and CJ Sapong went down to replace the two after a while, but Sapong has been up and down a few times depending on KC's needs. Ellis has played a little and is at the moment back in Kansas City. So for the majority of Orlando's stretch run, Orlando has had just Christian Duke and Jon Kempin on their roster from KC. The original agreement was that there would be four for the majority of the season. As Peter Vermes said in today's release "we feel it's important that we provide them every opportunity out of the partnership that we agreed to."
So making Dwyer available was the right thing to do for KC. As for KC this weekend vs the Crew, I still think KC should be fine. Bieler should be back from his illness that caused Vermes to hold him out Saturday. And if KC needs to spell him, Bunbury will likely be available on the bench to come in.
I will say that this is a raw deal for Charlotte. Orlando is adding a player that they did not expect to be available, but because of the USL roster rules, Dwyer played in enough games to qualify to be available for the playoffs. Still, Charlotte couldn't have expected Kansas City to release Dwyer for this game. From their perspective, this whole thing just feels wrong.