Major League Soccer

Oscar Pareja thrilled with Daryl Dike’s 'improved' form upon return

Lizzy Becherano
Daryl Dike for Orlando City SC against Inter Miami CF
Daryl Dike for Orlando City SC against Inter Miami CF / Michael Reaves/Getty Images

After a successful stint with English Championship side Barnsley, Daryl Dike has returned to Major League Soccer ready to dominate with Orlando City SC. His first game back saw the forward score twice in a triumphant 5-0 victory against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Prior to his arrival, rumors swirled around Dike’s future at Barnsley as most suspected the English side would offer a full contract. To fans’ surprise and head coach Oscar Pareja’s benefit, Barnsley refused the buy option and handed the player back to his MLS roots following the loan.

Pareja expressed his joy at having Dike back in the squad. During the match against San Jose, Pareja took immediate notice of Dike’s improved ways, and walked away pleased with his ability to acclimate quickly with his Orlando teammates.

"We’re happy to have Daryl back after his stay in England and the national team. He came not long ago and now he’s connected with the team again and such a performance so we’re happy. I think he’s improved in a lot of stuff, his matureness is very clear,” Pareja said. “His movements are solid. I can see the connections he’s making with his teammates, with Chris Mueller, and it’s making more sense, the game itself.”

During the post-match conference, Dike commented on his improved form after individuals took notice of his performances in England.

“Every single training session, whether it’s been on loan or with the national team and coming back here, I’ve always made sure I’ve improved,” Dike said in his post-match press conference. “For me, being able to find space, my movement and how I work with the guys around me, that’s something I’ve always told myself I want to improve on, of course the technique and the finishing as always.”

Pareja spoke highly about Dike’s ability to return to the team with ease. The forward managed to conform to new lineups before capitalizing on new opportunities.

“With having guys around me, leaders like Nani around me and other guys you know makes it a lot easier of course,” Dike said.

In addition to his recent club success, Dike has been named in the USMNT roster for the upcoming Gold Cup.