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Bright Dike Returns to Toronto as NASL Loan Ends

The Nigerian international is back with Toronto FC, and just in time for a string of important matches as the club tries to keep itself in contention while its stars are off at the Gold Cup.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Two months after being loaned out to the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions, Bright Dike is back with Toronto FC. His return comes at a good time, as Toronto will be without Jozy Altidore who has joined the United States for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and will be out of the lineup for a month. 

Dike will join Robbie Findley and Luke Moore in fighting for the vacant striker spot. It is a fight that Dike had been losing for most of the season, falling out of favour with manager Greg Vanney. With Altidore in the lineup, the Nigerian was Toronto's fourth striker option.

The 28-year-old has only played 20 minutes all season for Toronto FC, with one assist in that time. The goal of sending him to San Antonio was to get him more minutes, something he hasn't had many of since going down with an Achilles tear that kept him out of the Toronto lineup for most of the 2014 season and the World Cup in Brazil.

Now Dike will have some momentum as he comes back to Toronto hoping he can get more minutes. He played just under 100 in his time with San Antonio, and found the back of the net once against the Carolina Railhawks. He also played for Toronto in a friendly against Manchester City last month.

Dike has yet to train with Toronto FC, and cannot play for the club until July 8 when the summer transfer window officially opens. According to his Twitter feed he has been in town since Friday.

That means that the first game which Dike will be eligible for is Sunday July 12 against New York City FC. Considering what happened last time the two clubs met Toronto could probably use a strong physical striker up top to ward off New York's "cynical" style.

If Dike can recapture the form he had when he initially arrived in Toronto in 2013 after being exchanged for young Argetine Maxi Urruti then this could be a good boost for the club just at the right time.