The calls for Orlando City’s wealth of new acquisitions to make an impact on the offensive end are starting to be realized and it would be a familiar face doing most of the damage.
Lions midfielder Dom Dwyer, who Orlando City traded for from Sporting Kansas City a few weeks ago, was the most prized of all the new signings and players acquired through trade. The former University of South Florida product made his presence known in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday afternoon, as Dwyer scored two goals and helped Orlando City play to a 3-3 draw against Atlanta United FC.
Despite the tie, Orlando City (9-12-8, 35 points) was able to gain ground in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference. as the current No. 7 seeded Montreal Impact fell 3-2 to Minnesota United FC and the No. 8 seeded New England Revolution also lost on Saturday, 3-1 to Sporting KC. The draw coupled with those losses have now tied Orlando City and New England at 35 points apiece and only a point back of Montreal for seventh place. Orlando City’s road trip isn’t quite done yet, as they’ll continue traveling up to the northwest and face the Portland Timbers at Providence Park next Sunday for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
Dwyer didn’t let the match get even a quarter of the way through before scoring the first of his two goals, with the forward notching the opening score in the 10th minute. Orlando City defender Danny Toia hit a near perfect cross, which Dwyer finished off with a header past Atlanta United goalkeeper Brad Guzan for the 1-0 lead. Atlanta United (12-8-7, 43 points) got on the board in the 36th minute on a goal from forward Josef Martinez to tie things up at 1-all.
The match would remain tied only for three minutes longer before intermission kicked in, as Dwyer scored his second on another header past Guzan, assisted by Scott Sutter. Orlando City went into halftime up 2-1, but the second half woes started to creep on the Lions once again.
In the 55th minute, Martinez would strike again for Atlanta United, knotting the game up at 2-2. Orlando City’s forwards played admirably and Cyle Larin made sure he wasn’t left out of the scoring barrage, as the Canadian national scored on a header in the 58th minute on a cross from Dwyer.
Though it seemed like Orlando City might’ve been able to hold on, Atlanta United always had an answer. Martinez completed the hat trick and scored his third goal of the afternoon and after six goals through nearly 70 minutes, neither team would score again for the final 20 minutes and stoppage time.