How do you stop the leading scorer not just in USLPRO, but at any level of professional soccer in America this year? The answer is simple, you don't let him play. That's the scenario facing Orlando City's Dom Dwyer who, along with three other on-loan players, was told today that he will not be playing for the Lions when they travel to face Sporting KC in the 4th Round of the US Open Cup (USOC) next month.
Dwyer has been Orlando City's greatest offensive weapon so far in the 2013 season scoring 16 times in all competitions, 13 of which in 11 appearances in the team's USLPRO matches. Just to put that in perspective, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Aguero each had 12 goals total during the entire English Premier League (EPL) season. Now I'm not comparing USLPRO to EPL, believe me, but you can't undervalue what Dwyer has been able to accomplish while on-loan at Orlando.
However, the scoring will cease for the night of June 12th, as part of the loan agreement between Sporting KC and Orlando City as Dwyer, Joe Kempin, Christian Duke, and Yann Songo'o will be spectators. The partnership between clubs allows for players from MLS to join a USLPRO team for the entire season thus earning playing time they may not have had with their parent club. The MLS team pays the players regular salaries and the USLPRO club takes care of training, travel, and additional expenses. In that arrangement, however, there is also a line that states if the two teams are to face each other in competition, such as the USOC, the loaned players will be asked not to compete against their "home" club.
It make sense, why would an MLS team loan out a player just so that player could come back and score goals against them? That's the standard in professional soccer throughout the world, loaned players do not compete against their parent club. For example, Emmanuel Adebayor was on-loan to Tottenham for 2011-12 from Manchester City. The two teams met twice during the league season, Adebayor sat in the stands and did not participate in either match.
Ultimately Dwyer and the other players inability to participate isn't tied to Orlando City, Sporting KC, USLPRO or even MLS. No, the real failure comes from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), the administrators for the USOC.
The USSF was well aware of the MLS-USLPRO loan arrangements that were in place when they "randomly" drew teams to compete in the 3rd and 4th rounds of the USOC. New England Revolution & Rochester Rhinos, DC United & Richmond Kickers, and Sporting KC & Orlando City were all drawn to face each other even though they are partner clubs. USSF could have built a clause into the USOC draw stating up through the later rounds, that partnered clubs would not face each other. Instead they almost ensured these match-ups would occur so as the highly favored MLS club would be able to advance further into the tournament.
It should be noted, that even with the agreement in place, DC United decided to allow their players on-loan to Richmond to compete against them in their 3rd round match on Tuesday Night. DC United ended up winning the match on penalty kicks, 4-2, after a scoreless ninety minutes plus extra period. New England did not allow their loaned players to compete and they defeated Rochester 5-1.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jeff Nickel at Florida Action Sports