Orlando City striker Dom Dwyer was front and center for a brief media session before he and his teammates took to the field for the first morning of preseason training on Monday and Dwyer was candid about his personal expectations for the 2020 season.
“I think I’ve got a point to prove,” he said. “I’ve got to show everyone that I need to be on the field and that I can help this club grow and get it to where it wants to get to.”
Dwyer is coming off a pretty forgetful 2019 campaign with Orlando, notching just seven goals and four assists in 27 league games, marking it his worst goal-scoring season since tallying just two goals for Sporting KC back in 2013. The Lions paid upwards of $1.6 million in combined General and Targeted Allocation Money to acquire the star striker in the summer of 2017, yet he’s been anything but a star upon arrival, with just 24 goals over the last two and a half seasons.
Dwyer didn’t get much more into his personal goals for 2020 or reflect on what he went through last season, taking on a team-first mentality instead.
“This year is very much about the team — what we do and what we can achieve with all of the guys we have here,” he said.
Despite trade rumors swirling around the 29-year-old this winter, Dwyer will have every shot to prove himself and rebuild his reputation in the lineup for Orlando City this season. The Lions have a solid group of forwards on the roster, but none with the game-changing abilities that Dwyer possesses, meaning they’ll need him to be the guy the club thought they were acquiring back in 2017 if they are to finally make the playoffs for the first time this season.
If Orlando gets the Dom Dwyer of years past, then they’ll be in a good spot to compete this season if everything else also falls into place. But if they get the Dwyer that struggled to put shots on target last season, then Orlando might be in the market for a new prolific striker as early as this summer.
While many people outside of the club doubt Dwyer’s ability to return to top form, internally he already has the support of new head coach Oscar Pareja, who back in December shared some praise for the forward.
“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. “[Dom] has the potential to keep helping. I would like to see how we can help him get that confidence back.”
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