Daryl Dike abruptly burst onto the scene and established himself as one of the most promising youngsters in MLS. He took the league by storm with Orlando City, using immense physicality that is rare for someone just 20 years old.
There is little doubt that Dike will have a bright future and that belief is completely sensical. He is already boasting impressive hold-up ability and goal-scoring prowess at a young age, which is incredible considering those attributes in such a young player are as rare as hen's teeth. Furthermore, the fact that he has already been called up to the United States Men’s National Team is equally impressive. That said, I believe Dike could use a mentor familiar with the striker role and the hardship it entails.
With veteran striker Dom Dwyer leaving the club and entering free agency, Dike could benefit from an experienced replacement in his place.
A seasoned striker could help Dike by alleviating some of the pressure that is sure to be on the his shoulders if he is the main man up front next season. Of course, Matheus Aias was also signed and plays in a similar role, but he has not really gotten his chance as of yet and is also young at just 23 years of age. The raw pair could both benefit from another striker coming in to help and I believe an older one is ideal.
Dike is the main concern at this moment though, as the jury is still out on Aias. Time will tell whether or not he has as much promise as his counterpart.
With regards to Dike however, the jury is completely present and it already appears as if there are lofty expectations around him — maybe rightfully, but the night is still young. The big man managed an impressive eight goals and four assists in his breakout season, what’s not to love?
Well, not to use clichés, but what’s not to love is the fact that what goes up must come down and Dike will most likely have a dip in form at one point or another. But adding another knowledgeable striker to pick up any forthcoming slack could help Dike in that regard. Instances that may require assistance could include helping him realize it is okay to have a dip in form, providing advice to get out of the funk, and being available for selection to give the youngster rest if needed — mentally or physically.
Dike can be the golden goose egg for Orlando City going into the long-term future. The natural abilities he has already shown are nothing short of incredible. Nevertheless, even golden eggs need to be incubated.
The incubation period could be made less noticeable and more goal-ridden if an old head is brought in to help carry the excess load. American 30-year-old Aron Johannsson is reportedly eyeing a move to MLS and that could really help Dike out and would be ideal given the veteran’s obvious talent. A move to Orlando is probably unlikely, but it would be a wise coup if possible. If not Johannsson, a different, adept striker should suffice, but why settle for less?
It will be interesting to see if Orlando City holds a similar belief with the regards to this proposition. From my perspective, with most other areas as solid as they are and extensions and decisions being made for the backbone of the team, the center forward area is the priority. Time will tell, of course, but I believe that the side’s young padawan would benefit tremendously from the addition of a master of sorts that is an expert at the striker role.