Our “rival” is coming to town this weekend. And they are flying high. With a 5-3-1 record, and 18 points, Sporting Kansas City is atop the Western Conference.
But what about their players? Surely this early season success is a team effort and we don’t have to worry about one specific player, right? That’s where we go wrong. Dom Dwyer is a pretty good player. Dom is coming off of a brace against the New York Red Bulls and has five goals this season already.
It seems as if all he does since entering the league is score goals. Dwyer has 57 goals since 2012. It is no wonder that fans are wondering if he will be able to make the USMNT in the near future. (Dom Dwyer was born in England, but recently received his US citizenship making him eligible to play for the United States.)
Dwyer is a lefty, but recently he is showing a penchant for scoring with his weaker right foot. This only make him more dangerous. But how can you stop him? He is a fast striker that can score with either foot.
I think the game plan needs to be to play deeper. The task with stopping The Dom* will likely fall on the shoulders of either Brent Kallman or Francisco Calvo (or more likely, both.) Neither Calvo nor Kallman are slow, but Dwyer’s speed is on a different level. If Calvo or Kallman shadows Dwyer too closely, it leaves a lot of space for the striker to play through. If either of the centerbacks plays a little deeper, he can close this gap.
There is no question what the biggest weakness of this team has been this season. The defense was able to effectively bottle up Chris Wondolowski this past weekend, but Wondo does not have the speed that Dwyer has. Whereas, the team had trouble marking and tracking Josef Martinez of Atlanta United or Fanendo Adi of the Portland Timbers. The difference this defense has that those didn’t was a starting Brent Kallman and a benched Vadim Demidov.
The backline continues to come along, and stopping Dwyer is just the next step in the process. The team put together a string of four (4!) straight halves without conceding until San Jose scored their fluky goal. But Dwyer and SKC are a different challenge.
It should be a good gauge as to just how far this team has come.
*I really hope that isn’t a nickname.