Now that Sporting Kansas City forward Dom Dwyer is a citizen of the United States, what are his chances at making it on the national team?
"“I used to dream of playing for England but things change.”"
Since arriving in the US…
… Dom Dwyer has earned his reputation as a goalscorer.
The former Norwich City academy graduate spent his first two years in Texas, picking up two national championships and with 37 goals in his second season, the personal accolade of junior college player of the year. He spent a year in Florida before arriving at Sporting Kansas City as the #16 pick of the 2012 SuperDraft.
But 2012 was a frustrating one – he made only three appearances for Kansas before being sent out on loan, but it was there he made his name. In America’s third tier, United Soccer League, at Orlando City, 22 goals in 17 appearances earned a swift return to Kansas where in just three years since, Dwyer has become not only a mainstay of the franchise, but a record breaker.
In addition to getting his name on the MLS Cup in 2013, Dwyer – still only 26 – is already second in Kansas City’s all-time scoring charts with 61 goals in all competitions. And with just three games of the 2017 season played, Dwyer marked another milestone with his 100th regular-season start.
But what does this mean for the USMNT?
It means they have another convincing striker for roster consideration.
But what is fitting is after officially gaining a US passport Dwyer (and the rest of us) can now observe his competition for a place in the team during the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama.
That competition is in the form of the four forwards: Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood (before a back injury ruled Wood out to be replaced with New York Red Bulls midfielder Sacha Kljestan).
But just because Dwyer is eligible doesn’t mean he gets selected; it needs to be on merit and he makes a solid case for it.
So where exactly does Dwyer rank in the US striker depth chart?
Bobby Wood’s omission from the roster is a blow. He was arguably USMNT’s standout player in 2016 and his form in the Bundesliga has been so electric he was and is surely a certain starter.
A valid assumption to partner him up front would have been the US all-time leading scorer in World Cup qualifiers, Jozy Altidore. Another selection difficult to dispute.
Supporting them is the Sounders frontline. First, the MLS 2016 rookie of the year, Jordan Morris, who at just 22 years of age – along with Christian Pulisic – represents the future of US soccer. And finally, now back fit and playing, Clint Dempsey, who’s experience and dependability is where he brings strength to the squad.
Now with possibly the exception of Galaxy’s forward-come-winger, Gyasi Zardes, no one else is a legitimate contender for a place on the roster.
Dwyer is different. And while there is no doubting the quality of the current group, on current form, is Dwyer not deserving of a place?
Soon can’t come soon enough.
Both Dempsey (2nd) and Morris (4th) may sit above Dwyer (10th) in jersey sales, but it is goals which are in demand. And that’s what Dwyer brings. With 16 last season, Dwyer was the leading scorer in the league among US nationals (followed by Morris with 12, and an injury-hit Altidore on 10).
As Sports Illustrated’s Brian Straus brilliantly observed
"“There’s an energy, confidence and level of commitment in Dwyer that’s contagious and as he’s matured, it’s been harnessed for the good of his club and career.”"
Talk of Dwyer’s citizenship first started in 2015, but now that’s real, it’s now time to see what it means on an international stage. And if form continues, it might not be long before the bona fide goal scorer gets the opportunity to show what it does.