What had started by looking like a quiet week for Sporting KC with a bye week from MLS play got a little interesting last night due to Orlando City's coach's show. The show, which features Orlando City head coach Adrian Heath discussing their past week's match up against the Chicago Fire and looking ahead towards their game against DC United and their Open Cup game against Charleston. Also included in the show is a question and answer portion where fans ask questions of the coach. One of the questions that Heath was asked was about a potential move for Dom Dwyer.
The question goes along with rumors that have been around since it was announced that Orlando City would be entering the league. Dwyer enjoyed a very successful loan to Orlando City during the 2013 season when he scored 19 goals and another four in the championship game after returning to Orlando City for that game. He had won over the Orlando fans that were desperate to get him back when they moved to MLS. Unfortunately for them, Dwyer replicated his USL success in MLS play in 2014, setting a team record for goals and really diminishing any hope of him going to Orlando.
Still, that didn't stop Orlando fans from continuing to hope that he'd return, last week there were unsubstantiated rumors that Orlando had offered "the most money ever for an MLS player." There was never anything further on that, no direction on whether that was the most money Orlando had offered, or for all of MLS. Assumption is that would have been within the league money, since the league transfer record is $10 million and I can't see Orlando paying that.
In response to the question that Heath was asked, his initial response confirmed Orlando's continued interest in Dwyer, saying "if we ring Kansas City one more time, we're going to get reported to the league."
Obviously he's making a joke about Orlando's pursuit and how active they have apparently been in trying to get Dwyer. Heath continues "There is no secret that Dom wants to be here. We have tried to bring him here; we have done everything we can. Unfortunately we can't do it yet."
Heath finishes his answer by stating how the club is going to keep trying to get Dwyer back and how Orlando is his "spiritual home" and how Dwyer "wants to come back."
"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."
The conversation as a whole seemed odd, simply because you don't hear MLS coaches talk so forwardly about a player under contract with another MLS club, especially to the extent that Heath did. For many, it brings up questions of tampering on the part of Orlando's coach.
A little over two years ago, MLS made clarifications to their tampering rules after the situation that Robbie Rogers was involved in with Chicago, LA, and Seattle, which lead to the new rules below.
"Any member, officer, shareholder, director, partner, employee, agent, or representative thereof or any person holding an interest in a team cannot tamper, negotiate with, or make an offer, directly or indirectly, to a player or his representative.
"Same parties also may not tamper with: (i) a coach or other employee under contract with another member; or (ii) an employee at a director level or above of another member, in each case, unless written permission is first sought from the general manager or principal of such other member, which permission may not be denied with respect to upwardly mobile positions."
From reading the rules, it doesn't appear that there was any clear form of tampering on the part of Heath in this situation. Although you could ask how Heath knows that he wants to come back, and what conversations he's had that have included learning that information.
Overall, I'm not sure that there is much that Peter Vermes and KC can do with the league regarding this, unless there is other evidence in the background that KC can find. But what it probably means in the short term is that Vermes is probably going to be a little soured on doing business with Heath for a little while.