Dom Dwyer

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MLS Snapshot: Martinez, Dwyer, Larin score all 6 in ATL, ORL thriller

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The game in 100 words (or less more): First of all, let’s start with the numbers and get those out of the way. In three games at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, there have been 16 goals scored (13 by the home side, Atlanta United). Seven of those 16 goals have been scored by Josef Martinez (16 in 14 games this season), including three more (his second straight hat trick, joining Eddie Johnson and Robbie Keane as the only players in MLS history to achieve the feat) in Saturday’s breathtaking 3-3 draw with Orlando City SC.

On the other side, Dom Dwyer bagged his first two goals for Orlando City, while Cyle Larin also got his name on the scoresheet to bring his season tally to a dozen. While the six goals were certainly thrilling for the new MLS-record 70,425 fans in attendance, the result is hardly ideal for Atlanta (43 points), who so desperately needed to make good on their games in hand. With seven games left to play, Tata Martino’s side sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, just two points back of the Chicago Fire (with a game in hand), and seven back of second-place New York City FC. Orlando, meanwhile, remain ninth in the East, six points back of the sixth and final playoff place.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — TFC’s Shield chase continues in LA ]

Three Four Five Six moments that mattered

10′ — Dwyer heads home at a near-impossible angle — It took him seven appearances and 445 minutes, but Dwyer has his first goal since being traded to Orlando at the end of July.

36′ — Martinez taps home at the back post for 1-0 — Julian Gressel did the really hard part, keeping the ball in play and somehow sliding it past Joe Bendik. Martinez arrive to the right place at the right time, and it was 1-1.

39′ — Dwyer does it again, puts Orlando back ahead — 445 minutes for his first goal, but just 29 minutes for his second. 99 percent of strikers are streaky scorers, and Dwyer has never been any different.

55′ — Martinez rises above to head ATL level — Chris McCann’s cross begs to be headed into the back of the net, and Martinez duly obliges.

58′ — Larin heads home Dwyer’s cross to restore the lead — Scorer turns assister, as Dwyer floats the ball to the back post for Larin.

69′ — Martinez slots home at the near post for 3-3 — Martinez explodes into the space as he races to get onto the end of Hector Villalba’s cross. Terrible recognition on the defense’s part, and brilliant movement by Martinez.

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Man of the match: Josef Martinez

Goalscorers: Dwyer (10′, 39′), Martinez (36′, 55′, 69′), Larin (58′)

Dom Dwyer eyes “dream” Premier League move

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Orlando City and USMNT striker Dom Dwyer has been talking about a move to the Premier League.

Dwyer, 27, only move to Orlando from Sporting Kansas City in August but the U.S. national team striker — who has two goals in three games after being handed his debut by Bruce Arena — already has his eye on a move back to his native England with one-year left on his current MLS deal.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dwyer discusses his career in-depth as he retold his story of moving to the U.S. to play in college after being released by Norwich City, then becoming a star in MLS which led to his green card and his U.S. citizenship and a spot in the USMNT.

Dwyer still has bigger goals in mind.

“The dream was always to play in the Premier League and that would be a situation that would be difficult to turn down if it were to come,” Dwyer said. “Right now I’m focusing on things here and we’ll have to see what the future holds. I have one more year left on my contract and we’ll see from there. You never know in football.”

With 57 goals in 128 MLS games for Sporting KC, Dwyer has proven his prowess in front of goal but moving straight to the PL may be too big of a step up for the pacey forward. Perhaps a move to the English Championship or even the Dutch or French top flight would be a better fit to start with.

There’s no doubting his poaching abilities in the box and Dwyer obviously has confidence in himself, but these comments seem to suggest that his stay in Orlando will be short-lived as his ultimate aim is to move abroad.

Assessing the top moves during the MLS summer transfer window

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While some squads appear content with their current crop of players, others went out and were active this summer in the MLS transfer market.

A little over two months remain in the regular season, and with so many teams vying for a playoff berth in both conferences we saw several high-profile moves to increase their chances of reaching the MLS Cup playoffs.

[ MORE: USMNT huge climbers in latest FIFA world rankings ]

PST takes a look at the top moves from the MLS summer transfer window, which closed Wednesday night.


D.C. adds USMNT’s Paul Arriola

It’s been a really good 2017 for the U.S. Men’s National Team winger. Arriola is looking more and more like a legitimate candidate to make the Stars and Stripes roster for Russia 2018, assuming the U.S. closes out qualifying strong. There’s a number of reasons to like this move, though, from a D.C. perspective. Not only is Arriola a budding USMNT talent, but he’s a young one at that. He’s only 22. Additionally, he gives the Eastern Conference side another quality attacking threat to go along with Luciano Acosta in the near future as the club prepares to unveil its new stadium in 2018.


Orlando acquires Dom Dwyer

He’s only 27 years old and arguably a top 5 striker in MLS. While Sporting KC appears to be content with its options in the absence of Dwyer, Orlando City certainly gained a tremendous asset to partner up front in the Lions attack with Cyle Larin. It remains to be seen how long Larin will remain in a purple kit down in Orlando given the rising interest from clubs in Europe, however, the pairing of these two finishers could be the most deadly in the league once they are acclimated with one another.


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Ethan Finlay to Minnesota

Finlay’s form has clearly dropped off in 2017 from his performances of past years, which signified that this was probably the right time for the midfielder to make a change. His one goal and one assist this campaign are underwhelming given his past production, but the Loons have the chance to now reinvigorate the Minnesota native with an attack in place that’s already pretty talented. Head coach Adrian Heath has pieces in place (i.e. Kevin Molino, Christian Ramirez, Abu Danladi) that will help ease the transition for Finlay, who has shone at the highest levels of MLS. Just think back to 2015. Finlay was an MLS All-Star. He was voted into the MLS Best XI. And most importantly, he had his side on the brink of winning MLS Cup against the Portland Timbers.


Atlanta trades for Bobby Boswell

Why is a 34-year-old center back important for Tata Martino’s side? Experience. Boswell has previously played in the postseason in 11 of his past 12 seasons with both D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo. Atlanta did a good job of adding MLS veterans prior to their debut in MLS this season with players like Jeff Larentowicz and Jacob Peterson, but Boswell not only adds experience but much needed depth defensively as well. There’s no question Atlanta’s attack is elite, and that’s even without Josef Martinez — who has been sidelined due to injury. If Atlanta can strengthen its back line, nobody is going to want to face them come playoff time.


Aaron Maund joins the Whitecaps

It’s surely the least sexy pick on this list, but Maund is legit. He’s become as consistent a center back option as there is in MLS, and while RSL’s poor form hasn’t help Maund’s case for being an All-Star — or even receiving significant notice in general — the 26-year-old can immediately help the Whitecaps in their starting XI and provide Carl Robinson with depth as playoff time approaches.


Special mention

While this club won’t take the field until 2018, LA FC announced its first Designated Player signing this week with the acquisition of Mexican international forward Carlos Vela. The 28-year-old goalscorer currently plays in Spain with Real Sociedad, where he will reside until officially joining the expansion MLS side in January.

MLS All Stars lose to Real Madrid in penalties

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Borja Mayoral and Dom Dwyer traded goals during regulation of the MLS All Star Game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday, and Real Madrid joined the All Stars in penalty kicks.

Luca Zidane stopped Dwyer’s opening penalty kick and Giovani dos Santos cranked the second MLS All Stars PK off the crossbar as Real Madrid topped the All Stars 4-2 in the shootout.

Mayoral was named the match’s MVP.

[ MORE: Neymar to make $1m per week at PSG ]

There were two painful moments in the first 10 minutes. First, Atlanta United defender Greg Garza separate his shoulder.

Then Graham Zusi stamped down Theo Hernandez’s shin and onto his foot in what looked even worse upon replay.

Tim Howard was the star of the first half as Real Madrid held possession deep in the MLS All Stars half, relegating the home side to counter attacks.

Marco Asensio tried to chip Howard just after the half hour mark, but the Colorado Rapids backstop swatted the shot in NBA fashion.

The All Stars finally produced an A-plus chance in the 36th minute, as Kaka found David Villa only to see Keylor Navas parry the New York City FC man’s shot out for a corner that Real defended well.

Sergio Ramos joined the group of Spaniards trying to chip Howard with a goofy offering when played on goal in the 43rd minute, but the shot sailed over the goal.

Sebastian Giovinco has a sense of the occasion, and nearly hit a gorgeous, swerving rocket past Navas as the match reached halftime.

Full scale changes met the second half’s start, and the game felt a lot more wide open. Editorial note: Theo Hernandez looks as smooth as necessary to play for a side like Real.

Mayoral’s goal appeared class, with Hernan Grana caught out of position, but turned out to be a deflection that caught Stefan Frei unaware. Either way, 1-0 in the 59th minute.

Zinedine Zidane then rolled out some impressive subs in the forms of Marcelo, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema.

Marcelo played an incredible left-footed pass for his first move, while both Benzema and Bale tempted the goal within minutes of entering the match.

Nemanja Nikolic looked to have made it 1-1 off a break in the 70th minute, but it was an optical illusion as his shot splashed off the outside of the net.

Dwyer did equalize with a 87th minute header on the doorstep after Diego Valeri’s corner kick was headed off the post by Dax McCarty, pinballed off Kellyn Acosta’s arm and onto the noggin of the Sporting KC Orlando City man. Luca Zidane had little chance, even considering he got a paw on the ball.

Editorializing again, I’m happy to admit that the match surpassed my expectations for entertainment, even if I no longer love the format.

Dom Dwyer traded to Orlando City for hefty allocation money

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Dom Dwyer is heading back to Orlando City in exchange for money.

By MLS terms, it’s a lot of cash.

Sporting KC will receive a total of $1.6 million in allocation money for the USMNT striker, and Dwyer returns to a club which saw him score 15 goals in 13 loan appearances in 2013.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up? ] 

The England-born 26-year-old had those gaudy numbers when Orlando was still in then-USL PRO (now just USL).

Dwyer has 57 goals in 128 MLS appearances, including a career-high 22 in 2014. His departure from KC raises questions about their plans for to fill his shoes, and some are suggesting that Krisztian Nemeth could return to the club from Al-Gharafa.

And down in Orlando, could Dwyer’s arrival mean the sale of Canadian striker Cyle Larin? The prolific youngster ran afoul of the law earlier this season, and perhaps his departure will be hastened with most leagues in the world still preparing for their seasons.

Plus, the move now takes Dwyer away from the city of his wife’s place of employment. Sydney Leroux-Dwyer helps the attack at FC Kansas City, where she has three goals and an assist in 15 games this season.