Óscar Pareja praises Dom Dwyer, says he’s ready to help striker gain his confidence back

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Photo: Terrance Coakley / Orlando Soccer Journal

On his second day as Orlando City manager, Óscar Pareja shared some praise about Dom Dwyer and noted that he’s looking forward to working with the former All-Star striker.

“I think he’s a very talented player, I think he’s one of the best forwards that Major League Soccer has had in the last eight years,” he said on the MLS Extratime podcast. “Dominic has the potential to keep helping. I would like to see how we can help him get that confidence back.”

Dwyer had seven goals and four assists in 27 league games this past season, marking it his worst goal-scoring season since tallying just two goals for Sporting KC back in 2013.

The Orlando forward struggled mightily to put shots on target, including a handful of moments you never would have expected Dwyer, one of the most potent scorers in MLS over the last six seasons, to miss.

The 29-year-old Designated Players was on the books for $1.5 million this past season, according to numbers released by the MLS Players’ Union, and has already been the subject of trade rumors this offseason. According to The Athletic last month, Orlando City was discussing the potential of a player-for-player swap with Minnesota United for fellow Designated Player Darwin Quintero. Talks didn’t reach the finish line as Quintero was sent to the Houston Dynamo.

Around that time, Dwyer’s wife, Sydney Leroux, posted this picture on her Instagram story unofficially commenting on the swirling trade rumors:

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Dwyer has a no-trade clause and given that he and Leroux have two young children here in Orlando, it’s unrealistic to believe that Dwyer would waive his no-trade agreement to leave his family and move potentially thousands of miles away — at least as long as Leroux is still playing for the Orlando Pride.

Until then, Dwyer is still a member of Orlando City and still has the potential to be among the best strikers in MLS.

Pareja will be the third head coach to work with Dwyer since he was acquired by Orlando in the summer of 2017 and only time will tell if “Papi” will be able to get Dwyer back on track and scoring at elite levels once again.


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