Bright Dike was an earnest bruiser for the Portland Timbers. Playing on the front line during his four seasons in Portland, Dike seemed to go through his opponents, rather than around them. It was not his preference or his decision, it just happened. Get in Dike's way and you are going to get Dike'd.
In the 2010 season the Timbers were bringing in all the potential MLS talent that they could convince to come spend a season in the USL for a shot at coming with the team up to the big leagues. In the 2010 MLS Superdraft, Bright was the first round pick of the Columbus Crew, number twelve overall, but could not catch on with the winners of the Supporter's Shield for the last two years. The Crew's loss was the Timbers' gain as Dike signed with the team on April 7th, 2010.
Dike's played a big role for the Timbers in his rookie year as he scored ten goals in twenty-three USL league matches, coming in fourth for the league scoring title (which was won by fellow USL Timber Ryan Pore). Dike also chipped in four more goals as the Timbers made a run at the US Open Cup, one of which was against the Seattle Sounders who were then already in MLS.
In 2011 Dike was one of the first four players signed to the newly reincarnated MLS Timbers alongside Pore, Steve Cronin, and Eddie Johnson. However, Bright would not see the field for the Timbers until July after tearing his Achilles tendon in the team's first game of the preseason. After making his return and scoring four goals in five games with the Timbers' reserves, Dike was used regularly by manager John Spencer to add a late infusion of energy to the pitch, coming on as a substitute eleven times to close out the season.
Coming off of a long, difficult season, Dike found himself behind the newly acquired Kris Boyd in the pecking order at forward in 2012. Looking for minutes and not finding them in Portland, Dike was sent on loan to the LA Blues where he scored six goals in ten appearances. Coming back to a team now coached by Gavin Wilkinson rather than Spencer, Dike managed to bull his way into the first team where he scored five goals in twelve games and earned four honorable mentions on the MLS Team of the Week.
2013 could have been Dike's year with the Timbers, but again disaster struck in the the preseason. Dike, contesting a ball against the Seattle Sounders two years and one day after rupturing his Achilles tendon, tore his ACL. Working hard under the guidance of fitness coach John Cone and assistant coach Sean McAuley, Dike powered through his rehabilitation, making his first appearance with the Timbers reserves just five months after going down injured. One week later he was traded to Toronto FC along with a 2015 first round draft pick and a pile of money for Maximiliano Urruti.
Bright Dike grew with the Timbers. From the team's time in the USL to the hard knocks of the first two seasons, Dike was right there with all of us. As some are fond of saying, Dike gets it.
The Timbers have changed since the USL days and the start of the MLS era. Caleb Porter has brought a new style to town, one that doesn't require a player who will go through people, rather than around them; in Toronto, however, Dike may be just what they need.
We wish Bright Dike all the best as he continues his career with Toronto FC.
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