Daryl Dike blossomed into a superstar in Major League Soccer during his two year reign with Orlando City. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 SuperDraft scored 18 goals in two MLS seasons for the Lions, and he became a focal point of the clubs rise to contender status.
The former Virginia Cavalier parlayed that success --- and an impressive winter loan spell with Barnsley in the English Championship --- into a big money transfer to England. West Bromwhich Albion paid a reported $9.5 million for the American striker, a club-record sale for Orlando.
Since that move to the west midlands, however, things had gone awry for Dike. He battled a constant stream of nagging injuries and barely saw the field for the Baggies. The club failed to earn promotion to the Premier League and its big new signing played just 84 minutes after arriving in the winter.
After more time on the training table and a brief stint with the club's U21 side, Dike is finally back to his best self. The American striker has three goals and an assist in 367 league minutes this season, and he's been prolific since the new year.
Dike has two goals from West Brom in his last two starts --- both victories for the Baggies. The club sit in sixth place in the table: the final promotion playoff place. The American's underlying metrics are equally promising. He's averaging 0.98 combined goals and assists and 3.91 shots per 90 minutes, both encouraging numbers that back up the early hot run of goal scoring.
While it's not a robust sample size yet --- just 368 minutes played --- Dike is finally showing the English Championship the player fans saw in Orlando and in his brief Barnsley loan spell.
It's always joyous watching former Lions excel elsewhere, especially a promising young star like Dike who left the club on good terms. The success of Dike and hopefully others like him will only continue to improve Orlando's reputation and as a developer of talent, raising the club's ability and prominence in the global transfer market.