Toronto FC 2013 Top 36 Countdown: Number 14 - Bright Dike

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

He's big, he's brash, he's B'Right! TFC's prize in the 'spin the wheel on the Urutti' game - who won? Only time will tell; at number 14 in our countdown (and #7 in your programs), it's Bright Dike.

Average Ranking: 14.69
Highest Ranking: 8
Lowest Ranking: 24

Kristin: 18 Carnage! Our piece of the Urruti "trade" with Portland. While not one of those players that will make you stand up and go "wow", there's been a fair bit to like with his physical play, ability to get into position and work rate. While not exactly full of flair he was a difference maker in a couple of games as an option off the bench; and next season (once the exciting DPs show up that is) I think he's a decent piece to have and should do better once he's had an off season to train and get fully fit from his ACL surgery earlier this year.

There's a lot to like about Bright Dike - if only for his ability to come back from injury. Dike injured his Achilles heel last year and was back within four months. He had ACL surgery back in February and was back training and playing in under six months. Of course his willingness to throw himself into the fray injuries be damned is a wee bit worrisome, if not endearing. Tell me that there isn't a large portion of the fanbase that won't (or have already) warmed to that type of rough & tumble attitude.

Dike was one of the players that stayed with the Timbers when they made their entrance to the MLS. Never a superstar with Portland, he was nonetheless a fan favourite - even with his penchant for injuring his teammates in his enthusiasm on the pitch, turning his last name into a verb. While he didn't play for Portland at all in 2013 he had a nice run in 2012 - he only played in 12 (starting 9) but scored 5 goals on only 12 SOG - not too shabby. We talk about his willingness to crash into the fray and the video below is only one of his 5 goals from 2012 but a great example of him just getting after a ball and not giving up on a play:

Looking through match reports and game threads from Dike's time so far at TFC and what stands out is the energy he brought to each game he played. In fact in a couple of games he's seemed to be the standout in terms of getting involved and trying to create chances; this stood out starkly in the Montreal game:

The most notable being the play where Dike did some great work to get the ball down the wing only to have Earnshaw and Co. literally jog their way towards the box offering zero help and a colossally wasted chance.

But in addition to that there is of course lots of talk about his physical play, his ability to hold up the ball and cause chaos for opposition defenders - exactly what Toronto hasn't had since well, Danny Dichio played. This incarnation of TFC isn't long on technical ability and Dike's style should serve him well for the time being. Dike also brings some surprising bursts of speed to his game along with the 'hulk smash' athleticism - if his goal scoring technique can be honed he'll be a very nice addition off the bench next season - especially since the much vaunted DPs aren't showing up right away.

And in a feel good story kind of ending to the year he's also garnered attention of late for his recent call-up to the Nigerian team for their friendlies. Most notably was this very nice header in the game against Italy:

Was Dike worth giving up Urutti for? It's hard to say really - in the short term Dike's going to have far more to do at TFC than Urutti was ever going to. And from watching Urutti at Portland the remainder of the season I'm not crying too much over his loss. Dike fits in with what TFC are right now - the land of misfit players (and coaches?), a little rough around the edges, a little more brawn than brains and certainly more substance over style - even if that substance hasn't amounted to much as of yet. But really his value in all of this can't be judged until we see him fully fit and playing consistently next season - either as a starter or off the bench. Until then, let's get another look at that lovely goal that he scored against DC. Great awareness and communication with Mark Bloom to make this one happen:

Duncan: 16 When the Urruti trade became public, with TFC getting allocation money and a first round draft pick, the obvious assumption to make was that Bright Dike was a bit of an afterthought, definitely not at the same level as Urruti. That might well turn out to be the case when we can properly judge the trade and Urruti's impact for the Tiimbers, but for now, for what we've seen so far, I think even if it had been straight up player for player, TFC got the best of the deal. At the very least, it's pretty undeniable that Dike fit better with how TFC played this season than Urruti would have.

Ryan Nelsen described what he brings as carnage, and given he's a kiwi I can't help but think that what he pictures when he says that is a big strong All Black barging his way through many tackles, someone like Jonah Lomu perhaps. It's an apt description, he's big, strong and a bit on the reckless side. He was a very very popular player in Portland and has the game to be a cult hero in Toronto as well, it's just a question of whether he can add a scoring touch to his game, his time in Portland suggests that's something he's capable of doing.

The downside to the reckless carnage approach is the potential for injury. Though hopefully his ACL injury was just a one off, I could totally see how he might be the type of player who regularly picks up little injuries given his enthusiasm for crunching tackles. Hopefully that's not the case, whether he's starting next season alongside a more skilled DP forward, or if he is someone we bring off the bench when we need something different late in the game, I'm very much looking forward to seeing more of Dike next year.

Dave: 24. Showed some promise in the games that he played since coming over from Portland. Enough there to give me hope that he will be able to contribute next season when he has a full preseason under his belt and is not just coming back from major knee surgery. If he can be more than just a big body that would be a real plus for TFC as they have a lack of attacking options around these days.

Armen: 14. When you interview Bright Dike, it's like you're talking to a boombox. BAM. His voice resonates in the room. Oh, and he scores goals.

James: 8. Rather high considering the lack of minutes, but a bruiser up front unseen since Dichio - will be a fan favourite in short order.

a_miller16: Like his physical play and his ability to hold the ball up. TFC has lacked a striker like him since Alan Gordon. Hopefully he can stay healthy and be a solid bench player next year when Team Tim bring in our mysterious DPs.

Colin Freebury:Perfect strike partner for someone.

Henry for PM: Work in progress, still needs some techical 1v1 polishing I think to be really good

JD: Very fun to watch - excited to see him perform next year. One of the few good trades TFC made all season!

Mark_HSV: Decent striker so far and has some intensity. Will hopefully be a good depth player behind the new DP strikers if they get any. Might partner well with Earnshaw though. Amazing name too.

Michaelvee: Dike is very much a "get what you pay for" MLS player. He's got size and strength, something we're a bit light on, and he works hard. Solid pick for the upcoming season, and pairing him with Defoe is a dream I'd love to have come true.

Prizby: I think Dike will grow on us; obviously not enough games played to rank him much higher, but he has tremendous work rate and has some great strength and speed to go along with his size; he'd compliment a speedy smaller striker (like a Defoe dare I say).

Red Wine Roz: Will either get significantly more or significantly less shirt sales than the others.

Robert Snider: I hated losing Urruti but you have to love him for the tsunami that travels around with him. No one really knows how to handle him. Kind of reminds me of REB.

Schtevetown: Could play the Emile Heskey role next year for Jermaine Defoe in a classic big man, little man pairing in a 4-4-2. Or not. Certainly a likeable player.

Spence Snell: Would be much higher up if it weren't for lack of games played. I feel like he's currently second best striker in the squad by a mile.

The Yorkies: "Carnage" is fun. Like watching the Kool-Aid guy repeatedly crashing through a wall.

Tim: A full year and he would be ranked much higher. Lots of excitement watching him.

Tyler: He could be ok. He plays with energy, like most have said, and creates a ruckus in the box. I can get behind keeping him to bring off the bench and throw the opposition into shambles late in a game.

Yohan: Hopefully he has shed his injury proneness, and be about to contribute next season, at least as 3rd striker. Dike is strong, can hold up the ball and has good pace. He adds a dimension to TFC attack and at good salary too.

Number 13: Darel Russell

Number 15: Andrew Wiedeman

Full Top 36 Countdown

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