Record-setting striker Dom Dwyer didn’t have much time to sulk after Orlando City SC was eliminated Wednesday from the centennial edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 5-1 quarterfinal loss at the Chicago Fire.
Dwyer, who was Sporting Kansas City’s first-round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, boarded a plane Thursday morning and returned from his loan with the Lions, who are in their inaugural season as Sporting KC’s official USL Pro affiliate.
“He’s in form, and he’s been in form consistently for a long time,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “Now that we have three games in nine days, we felt like it was a good time based on a few other injuries as well.”
Sporting KC, 6-5-5, welcomes the Columbus Crew to Sporting Park at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and hosts the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday before wrapping up a hectic week July 7 at the Chicago Fire.
U.S. men’s international team stalwarts Graham Zusi and Matt Besler have returned from a monthlong absence, but Sporting KC’s roster situation remains complicated with Mechack Jerome and Peterson Joseph on international duty for Haiti in preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“We were trying as hard as we could to have both Jerome and Peterson stay, because them going to (join the Haiti men’s national team) two weeks out doesn’t make sense to us at least,” Vermes said.
Unable to keep either player from leaving, Sporting KC opted to bolster its roster with Dwyer, who was informed of the decision a few hours before the Open Cup match with the Fire.
“We played in Chicago last night, and I came straight here in the morning,” Dwyer said. “I went right from the airport to the training ground. It was great to see the guys and get some hugs. I’m excited to train tomorrow and get back into the swing of things here.”
As part of the loan agreement, Sporting KC is required to send four players to Orlando City. Vermes isn’t sure who will be returned to the Lions now that Dwyer has been recalled.
“We haven’t made a decision,” Vermes said. “I told them that we would think about it and then get back to them and talk a little bit through that, but everybody’s a candidate for that.”
Well, not everybody.
Sporting KC’s regular starters, including Zusi and Besler, aren’t going to be loaned to the Lions.
It’s also possible that Dwyer, who set a USL Pro single-season record with 15 goals (in only 13 games), will be returned to Orlando City at some point.
“I know that I’m back for these three games,” Dwyer said. “Beyond that, we’ll have to see. I really don’t know what’s going to happen, because I haven’t talked to Peter yet.”
The biggest thing for Dwyer is logging minutes — important minutes. He’d prefer that be in Kansas City, but if it’s not possible then he’s fine with heading back to Orlando City and the continuing chase for the USL Pro championship.
“I’ve been enjoying playing football, so I hope that continues,” Dwyer said. “I want to be a big part of it here with (Sporting KC), not somebody who does a little here and a little there. I want to play an important role.”