Orlando City’s Dom Dwyer (left, courtesy orlandocitysoccer.com) broke the USL Pro single-season goal-scoring record Friday night with his 14th in a 2-0 win over the Phoenix FC Wolves. It’s a remarkable accomplishment, no question, but not a record-setting one for the level of play. In fact, Dwyer is less than halfway to the third division single-season record, which is held by a pair of guys you’ve never heard of.
In this, the first year of a new partnership between Major League Soccer and United Soccer Leagues, several players have been loaned by MLS clubs to USL Pro clubs to develop their games. None have had the impact Dwyer – a 22-year-old Englishman who was the 16th overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft – has had, though. He scored two goals in his first three matches, a hat trick against Antigua in early May, and surpassed Jhonny Arteaga’s 2011 mark of 13 goals before the halfway point of the 2013 season.
Now, it’s totally reasonable for USL and Orlando to consider 2011 to be the start of history – the schism between owners that led us to a split of lower-level teams and leagues resulted in the North American Soccer League and a newish entity from USL for 2011. They’re free to consider 2011 to be a new era and a fresh start and to track record performances from that point forward.
But USL Pro is still, at heart, the third division league that has gone by many names over the years, and Dwyer’s 14 goals are not even close to a record-breaking performance for the third division. Here’s a chart of the yearly DIII goal-scoring leaders going back to 1995:
|2011||Jhonny Arteaga||New York||13|
|2003||Rob Jachym||Western Mass||14|
|2002||Julio-Cesar Dos Santos||New Jersey||22|
|2000||Julio-Cesar Dos Santos||New Jersey||20|
|Michael Butler||Western Mass||15|
|1995||Flavio Ferri||San Antonio||29|
Flavio Ferri, a Brazilian forward, scored 29 goals in 19 matches for the San Antonio Pumas in 1995 (the Pumas went 13-7 and lost in the first round of the playoffs) and was an MLS draftee, but never played in the league. He is currently the Vice President of the Long Island Rough Riders of the PDL, a team he played for in 1996 and 1997. Orrett Pendergast tallied 29 times for the Florida Strikers two years later (the Strikers went 10-8 and also lost in the first round of the playoffs), earning league MVP honors, and went on to play for the Minnesota Thunder and to briefly spend time with MLS’ MetroStars (without, apparently, ever getting into a league match). Other info on him is scarce.
Assuming Sporting Kansas City leaves Dwyer in Orlando for the remainder of the USL Pro season, he has a chance to get close to the record co-held by Ferri and Pendergast. He’s halfway there now, but if he keeps up his pace and Kansas City continues to languish mid-table in the Eastern Conference, he may be halfway gone.