KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Dom Dwyer's first two goals of 2016 were both the stuff of highlight reels – and for entirely different reasons.
That's what Sporting Kansas City like to see from their star center forward, who continues to evolve and develop his game as he enters his fifth season as a pro.
“The thing with Dom is, he's getting better and better every year,” said right back Chance Myers, who assisted on Dwyer's second goal, to MLSsoccer.com after Sporting beat the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1, on Saturday. “He's learning what works against some teams and what doesn't, and the more he learns, the better player he's going to become.
“I'm proud of him. He's learning new ways to score goals, and he's helping our team.”
Dwyer's 5th-minute strike for a 1-0 lead showed that the center forward, usually a physical creative presence in the penalty area, has a cannon from distance as well. After a bad giveaway in the back from defensive midfielder Deybi Flores, Dwyer unleashed a blast from 28 yards – the longest goal of his career – off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
“The first one was good pressure in the middle and every time we lost the ball, we pressed hard,” Dwyer said in the postmatch news conference. “When they gave it away we had a little counter. And when you don't shoot, you don't score. So I thought I'd have a hit, and I hit all right, and it went in.”
“The second one was just great buildup,” Dwyer said. “To me, that was a better goal. It was fantastic buildup Zusi and Chance and the other guys in the middle, and it was just a fantastic team goal.”
Sporting pressed hard for more scores against the shorthanded Whitecaps in the second half, but were unable to connect again despite a 14-9 edge in shots and an 6-0 advantage on corner kicks. That made for a few nervy moments for the hosts, after Vancouver pulled one back on Pedro Morales' penalty kick in the 70th minute.
“I told the guys when they went out in the second half that I wanted them to let them come out just a little bit, and then we could start to press them,” said manager Peter Vermes said. “What happened was that I think they dropped more guys behind the ball and basically became two lines, and it was hard to get instructions out. So it's more on me. The guys were solid tonight.”
Steve Brisendine covers Sporting Kansas City for MLSsoccer.com.