Another year, another record.
Someday, it might get old for Dom Dwyer. Someday, but not yet – so long as Sporting Kansas City are winning, at least.
“I’ve wanted a hat trick for this club for a while, so I’m very happy to get one,” Dwyer told reporters in Wednesday night's postmatch news conference, after scoring four goals – three in the first half – in a 6-2 thrashing of FC Dallas in the fifth round of US Open Cup play. “And I got an extra one, and I finally scored a free kick. So that was good.”
Dwyer has been rewriting club and league history – with two clubs and two leagues – since 2013, his second year as a pro.
That year, he set USL marks for most goals in a season and in the league title game while on loan to SKC's then-affiliate Orlando City. Last year, all with Sporting, he set single-season records with 22 league goals and 24 across all competitions – and tied another by converting seven penalties during the regular season.
“Obviously I remember the record last year, and that was important to me,” he said. “But that’s done now and it’s about setting league records and winning championships, and being in the legends of this squad. So I’m not going to get ahead of myself. I’ll take every game as it comes. When it’s all said and done, then we can look back at that.”
Dwyer wasn't the only one making an entry into the club's record books on Wednesday, though, as Sporting booked a July 21 home date with Houston in the quarterfinals.
Benny Feilhaber assisted on Dwyer's first two goals and the first of Krisztian Nemeth's pair of scores, making him the first player in Sporting history to record three assists in an Open Cup match.
“For me, I think that's my job on the team,” Feilhaber told reporters after running his 2015 assist total to 13 across all competitions. “One of my biggest jobs, and that's to create opportunities for my teammates. When I'm putting the ball in – whether it's off a corner kick, free kick, or in the run of play – I try to take a lot of pride in that and try to give my teammates the best opportunity to score. There's no doubt that assisting is something that I take with a lot of pride.”
Sporting's six goals were the most against an MLS opponent in any competition in club history, and tied the single-game mark they set in a 6-1 win over the Des Moines Menace on Aug. 3, 2005.
“I thought overall we were very good, especially defensively in the first half,” manager Peter Vermes said during Sporting's news conference. “I thought our attacking prowess and desire around the goal were good. Both goals Dom scored with his head were two huge goals to get it kicked off. The first one takes the pressure off everybody, and now all of the sudden they have to open up a little bit. The second one the goalkeeper comes out, and he obviously beats him in the air.
“From that point on, everything else was there. He was big time tonight. I said to the bench, 'The bull is out tonight. He’s been unleashed.'”
Dwyer's performance nearly overshadowed Nemeth's brace, and might have were it not for the audacity of the Hungarian's second score just before the hour mark – when he lifted a pretty chip over 'keeper Chris Seitz from just inside the end line.
Or was it just a cross gone off just enough to be brilliant?
“I cannot say,” Nemeth told reporters with a smile. “To be honest, I don’t know. I just tried to chip it to the second post and it ended up being a goal.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.