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Dwyer scores record four goals to lead Orlando City SC to USL Pro title

DomDwyerOrlandoCity1-CharlotteEagles (OrlandoCitySC)


For the second time in three seasons, Orlando City Soccer Club has won the USL Pro Championship.

In front of a USL Pro record crowd of 20,886 at the Citrus Bowl, Orlando City ran riot, defeating the Charlotte Eagles, 7-4, thanks to a record four goals from on-loan forward Dom Dwyer. Dwyer also added an assist, while teammate Dennis Chin chipped in with two goals and an assist as well. Eagles forward Christian Ramirez scored a brace in the losing effort.

With a number of injuries to their front line, Orlando City requested for Sporting Kansas City to loan back Dwyer, who had scored 15 goals for the USL side in the first half of the season, a request that Sporting KC happily complied with. The move paid instant dividends, as Dwyer scored twice in the first half, the first of which equalized an Eagles goal in the 20th minute by Fejiro Okiomah.

Just seconds after Dwyer scored his second, Ramirez drew the scoreline level once more with a goal two minutes before halftime and scored again in the 58th minute to put the visitors ahead once more.

Dwyer though picked up his teammates when they were given a penalty, bagging his hat-trick from the spot past Eagles goalkeeper Eric Reed to tie the game in the 61st minute. Eight minutes later, Dwyer added his fourth with Anthony Pulis, son of former Stoke City manage Tony Pulis, providing the assist.

In the 70th minute, just a minute after Dwyers goal, Chin scored the first of his two on the day, and Adama Mbengue made it 6-3 in the 85th minute with the assist going to Dwyer. Eagles substitute Christian Meza cut the deficit to two with a goal two minutes from time, but Chin put the finishing touches on the offensive onslaught with a goal in stoppage-time to ensure victory for Adrian Heath’s side.


    • He was loaned in for the first half of the season and only came back to be a ringer. He has been getting minutes for SKC, an active part of the team’s game-day roster. He wasn’t there for development purposes, he was there to win the cup. It is a joke that USL Pro and MLS allowed it to happen. MLB would never let a quality player like that drop down a league just to win a title and no MLB team would care enough to do it.

  1. Kind of sketchy that a loaned player was the key player in the championship. I guess since he was there earlier in the year it was ok, but that “let’s loan him back for the championship” still looks kind of bad from the opponents view.

  2. Seattle at the top drawing real stadium sell outs ( I would guess Friday’s game will be again ).

    These guys drawing 21k. Fun times, I remember when the only player most anyone knew was Kyle Rote Jr. That was because of his name and Superstars victory.

  3. As an Orlando City supporter who was at the game, it was really amazing to see that many people in there. It was loud and rowdy and a fantastic treat for all 20,000+. Having that many people in there has really made an impression on this city as well. There was a vocal minority that questioned Orlando’s appetite for soccer but they have been very quite since Saturday. Even the Orlando Sentinel who has penned a number of stories against the move to MLS and a new stadium are only saying positive things about the game and the show that the franchise put on for the city. That game Saturday night did a great deal for Orlando’s chances for a new stadium.

    Nationally, everyone seems to think that Orlando to MLS is all but done but the reality is that the stadium does face significant opposition and although the team is optimistic, the county commissioners (who have to approve the stadium along with the city) have expressed hesitation so while Dom Dwyer’s appearance bothers some, it was very important for the city and for Orlando’s chances at MLS to not only win but put on a great show and a final score of 7-4 did that.

    I agree that Dwyer’s appearance shifts the competitive balance in a questionable way but this was much more than the USL Pro finals….this was Orlando City Soccer Club galvanizing a city to show all the doubters that MLS can work here and Dom Dwyer’s performance really helped achieve that.

  4. Glad to hear that Orlando has something food going on here. It does feel like they are gaming the system with these loans. No other league would allow this. I guess it’s worth it for the usl as they get to see some better quality players and drive interest a little more, but takes the validity out of the championship somewhat IMO.

    • The only other precidence i can think of is MLB and AAA baseball, they way SKC and Orlando are working this partnership is unlike anyother soccer loan before.

      Im all for it, young talent is getting important game pt.

      And for Orlando, they desirve to be in MLS asap

      • The MLB-AAA is exactly the model SKC/Orlando and 3 other pairs are using (parent club can call up/return any player at any time). And even more importantly, it’s within the rules agreed to by all within MLS and USL Pro.

        Does it invalidate the USL Pro championship? Not really, USL Pro championship means as much as the Baseball’s AAA “championship” (whatever that is).

        A US lower tier soccer championship is for bragging rights and doesn’t have the consequence as it would in a pro/rel system (which will never happen in the US in our lifetimes).

        I would suspect that some complainers about the Dwyer/Orlando/USL Pro championship game are upset that this is not how it’s done in “real” (Euro) pro/rel leagues, and takes America farther from pro/rel. I’m fine with that.

      • It has nothing to do with pro/rel. Even in American sports there is a roster freeze to prevent this type of underhanded deal from destroying the competitive balance of a league. Would MLS allow NYCFC to take a loan from Man City so they can win MLS Cup? It makes both leagues look Mickey Mouse when cheating of this nature is allowed. Yes, it is cheating. Any sport and any league would call such a move cheating.

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