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Dom Dwyer’s welcome return to form could help injury-ravaged USMNT

Good news has been hard to come by for the U.S. Men’s National Team in recent weeks.

As injury concerns build up ahead of the October World Cup qualifying matches against Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, possible replacements are being looked at for each position.

At the forward spot specifically, Bruce Arena is in need of someone to step up with Jordan Morris out with a hamstring injury and Bobby Wood nursuing a knock to his knee.

Dom Dwyer’s two-goal performance for Orlando City on Saturday couldn’t have come at a better time for club, country and player. Dwyer ended an MLS goal drought of four months and 13 days with his brace against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Dwyer had been dormant since his arrival from Sporting Kansas City, but he broke out in a major way during the 3-3 draw in which he also picked up on an assist.

And although you might want to point to Dwyer’s struggles over the last few months in league play, you have to remember that most of the world’s strikers are streaky, and unfortunately for Dwyer, his dry spell lasted longer than most would like.

But now it’s time to look at the immediate future. Dwyer, who impressed at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July before being sent home before the knockout round, has a golden opportunity in front of him and he struck a vein of form that hasn’t been touched in quite some time.

From the club perspective, Orlando City is essentially out of the Eastern Conference playoff race, but a three-game stretch in the next week could be perfect for the USMNT as Dwyer has a trio of chances to bag more goals, starting on September 24 in Portland.

If we’re being honest, Dwyer doesn’t have a ton of competition for a roster spot, even if Wood regains fitness and takes up a spot on the 23-man squad for October. Dwyer was in direct competition with Morris for the final forward spot and October looks like he chance to impress Arena in a big-game situation.

Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey are still atop the depth chart, but what Dwyer brings to the table off the bench is something others in the talent pool simply don’t have. Dwyer will bang and bruise in the final third against defenders, which is a perfect skill set to have with fresh legs off the bench in two games that will already be physical.

Although Chris Wondolowski has plenty of experience under his belt, he wouldn’t do the same amount of damage to an opposing defense that Dwyer would if he got the call to enter a match.

And there’s the added motivation that the qualifier against Panama will be played at Orlando City Stadium, which could be a further boost to the forward’s confidence.

A lot of variables could go against Dwyer as well since Wondolowski does have the experience and Dwyer has never featured in a World Cup qualifier, which is a completely different type of match than a game in the Gold Cup.

But with the injuries mounting at forward and Dwyer hopefully finding the back of the net once or twice more in the next week, the USMNT could find themselves with a solid forward option off the bench that could make a difference in two must-win contests in October.


  1. Watched Manneh for two plus a little seasons with the ‘Caps. He can torch a tired defense so use him when the other team’s D is tiring. Dwyer, in my opinion, is the perfect forward for CONCACAF slugfests. The uglier the game, the more valuable because if he’s proven anything in MLS it’s that he can poach relentlessly. I can’t see him helping us much against high-quality teams.

    • I agree that Dom would be good for the slugfest that is CONCACAF. I’d actually go so far as starting him and pestering/wearing down defenders for 65 minutes, and then bring on Dempsey for the last 25′.

  2. “Kekutah Manneh’s welcome return to form could help injury-ravaged USMNT”
    We are not looking for KICK BALL tap in goal strikers. We are looking for players that tilt the balance, that can make something out of nothing when you least expect it. Love you Dom but not a lot of our players can do this 2:29:

    Speed, skill, quick into space, able to beat defenders on one-on-one match ups


  3. I’m tired of this experience excuse, when has experience gotten the team so far, almost missing the WC? Bring in some fresh faces and not the Wondos, Daxs and Bedoyas

  4. French, I line that lineup, but I doubt we’ll ever see it happen. And will Williams actually get a call up? He just went the full 90 for HT over the weekend and offers more than Acosta at this point. I’m resigned that he won’t likely get a call or not see the 18 after the last set of qualifiers.

  5. Dwyer will never be an Arena favorite and as a result, will never get a fair shot. He looked good in the GC but still got sent home. That says a lot. Arena plays his favs no matter what and if you’re not on that list, you might as well give up. I think Dwyer should get a fair shot. He’s a pest on defense and scores. He is a Bobby Wood type player and could be a valuable player. Arena however is not likely to let an outsider actually challenge for a starting spot so he’s finished.

    I dont think it should be this way but unfortunately it is. Wondo has a better shot than Dwyer. It was this attitude that got us too old under Arena’s last cycle and ended up getting him fired. Its starting again already and in the end, will get him fired at some point. Arena has GOT to build a younger team with faster, more skilled players, then the lot he’s running out now. 1 point in the last two games is a yardstick on how that’s working

    • I missed a PK and some easy chances too. He showed some strengths, but also weaknesses. Did Wood or Morris score in their debut, no, but DD did. The other thing is that he is playing with a better set of players than featured in the GC. Hopefully, he would get better service if he plays. With Morris and Woods hurt, BA might go with a 4-5-1, with Alitidore up top. Still more than 2 weeks until the roster will be released.

  6. Does he play left back…?

    “Dwyer had been dormant since his arrival from Sporting Kansas City, but he broke out in a major way during the 3-3 draw in which he also picked up on an assist.” There’s your answer right there, Joe.

    He knocked in a couple goals during group play of the GC against crappy teams but has otherwise done nothing to warrant another call up. He blew up against Atlanta, good for him. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take him over Wondo any day, but it’s not like he becomes an automatic call up.

    Maybe this forces Bruce to play us in a 4-2-3-1 with Jozy or Dempsey up top, Nagbe-Pulisic-Arriola in the front 3, and Bradley and Willaims (you can always hope!) behind them.

  7. Dwyer’s value lies in being a new American with an European connection. Having a hot wife also helps him. At the end of the day he’s just another MLS produced forward with lots of hustle and speed but very little technical talent.
    Fortunately for him being the 35th highest scorer in MLS is good enough to make this team.

  8. People are hell bent on seeing more in Dwyer than is actually there. Should he get called up in October? Perhaps. But more than anything that is an indictment of how poor the US is up top.


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