Mike Gramajo is a beat writer covering Orlando City SC for MLSsoccer.com. You can view all of his stories written for MLSsoccer.com here.
ORLANDO, Fla. – After Dom Dwyer’s 87th-minute goal secured Orlando City SC their second win of the season, the forward had one message to the rest of the league.
Don’t ever count out the Lions.
“We’re not going to give up, that never say die attitude,” said Dwyer shortly after the game. “I think you can’t really count us out ever to be honest. We’re showing a lot of character in three home games this year and we have to keep pushing forward.”
For the fifth time this season, the Lions saw themselves trailing after Diego Valeri converted a penalty kick in the 20th minute and Bill Tuiloma’s goal in the 59th minute doubled the lead for the visiting Portland Timbers.
But three goals in the final 10 minutes of the game from rookie Chris Mueller, Sacha Kljestan and Dwyer inspired a late rally for the Lions to win their second game in a row this season.
“It was pretty amazing. It was an emotional moment for everyone,” added Dwyer. “It’s very important to win games, especially at home. It shows a lot about this team to win that way.”
Orlando coach Jason Kreis praised the team’s character after recording a 3-2 victory on Saturday, but indicated there’s still room to improvement after a sub-par performance in the first half.
“I think we have to be happy with character,” said Kreis. “The character of the group, the character of the individual players that don’t give up and continue to fight and that was a big piece that we were looking forward to going into the offseason and to try to improve that facet, and I think we’re showing some signs that we’ve done that.
With the score leveled 2-2 in the 85th minute, Portland goalkeeper Jake Gleeson and defender Alvas Powell went down with apparent injuries as the clock ticked away, but it was at that moment Dwyer said he assured his teammates that they were going to win the game.
“I just believed at that point it was going to happen,” said Dwyer. “We had too much momentum, guys were confident, had a bit energy left and tired, and I was just screaming to everyone to keep pushing and that we’re going to get another chance and we did.”
For Dwyer, he scored his third goal in two games, something Kreis said it is important to have a forward in scoring form.
“Every great team need a goalscorer,” said Kreis. “Every great team needs somebody that’s going to put the ball in the back of the net on a consistent basis and Dom is proving himself to be that for us this year no doubt.”