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Daryl Dike impresses with second-half USMNT cameo vs. Northern Ireland


The hope for any U.S. Men’s National Team head coach is that his substitutes can enter the game and quickly influence proceedings.

Daryl Dike did just that on Sunday — even if his finishing was not at its best.

The USMNT came out victorious in its final March friendly over the weekend with a 2-1 triumph vs. Northern Ireland, and Dike made his second international appearance in the friendly. The 20-year-old striker entered the match at Windsor Park in Belfast in the 63rd minute, and quickly got involved with a few good looks on goal that could have marked his first USMNT tally.

“Daryl is another guy that I felt had a big impact on the game with his strength (and) with his movement behind the line, which I think has improved,” said Berhalter. “The only thing I would be slightly critical of is that he did not finish the chances that he had because normally he needs to score a goal with the chances that he got.

“But overall I am pleased with the Daryl that I saw today and in camp.”

While Dike did not put any of his opportunities away, he was a threat in the final third. The young striker’s first look came in the 78th minute when he held off a defender and powerfully dribbled towards goal before taking a shot that was just saved by the left foot of Northern Ireland goalkeeper Conor Hazard.

The American center forward was denied again by Hazard shortly thereafter on another opportunity at the near post, and Dike also just missed the frame with a flicked header in the final minutes.

The end product was not there for the Orlando City player that is currently on loan at Barnsley in England’s second division, but Dike still proved a handful during his 27-minute cameo.

“He is a strong, strong player,” said USMNT captain Christian Pulisic, who set up Dike’s first chance. “He has got a lot of strength and speed as you guys see. He has a knack for goal and I think he created some good stuff today. … We definitely have some good options up front.”

For Berhalter, the American striker pool is probably looking deeper right now than it has in quite a while and just in time for the more important matches that are on the horizon.

Not only is Dike an option given his recent strong form at Barnsley — which has seen him score five times in the club’s last nine games — but so too are fellow European-based exports Josh Sargent, Jordan Siebatcheu, and Nicholas Gioacchini. In MLS, Jozy Altidore, Gyasi Zardes, and Ayo Akinola are also likely still in the mix.

Dike will have to continue to play well and score goals in the coming months to ensure he remains involved with the USMNT in the short term. If he does, then Berhalter will have some tough choices to make up top. Not that that is a bad problem to have.

“I think it is a good sign for Orlando, a good sign for Barnsley,” said Berhalter of Dike’s performance. “We are excited to follow him for the rest of the season.”


  1. I think everybody is getting way to excited over Dike. I saw a big guy, that fought hard when he got to ball and had two straight ahead passes with a few touches straight ahead, that resulted in one shot. A third chance with a missed header. Rest of the time, not much movement off the ball. Sorry but I am not ready to buy into he’s the savior just yet. I see him as taking the Jozy spot but for my money…. I like Sargent far more. Much better off the ball and more movement. I will put my money on him

    • Potential and Savior are two very different things. I am excited about his potential, and love seeing the striker pool get a little deeper. Dike and Sargent are not comparable players. I think we are lacking a big physical player who can simply overpower centerbacks to win balls in the middle of a packed defense. (AKA Josy A). I doubt Dike will develop to the point where he scares the German centerbacks, but I think he can make huge difference against CONCACAF teams, especially in the away matches, where his skillset is critical. For WC, I would expect Sargent or one of other more technically skilled players to get the time.

    • I don’t think anyone would say Dike is a savior. Most of us were interested to see if Dike and Siebatcheu could do with what would was nearly our 1st choice attackers.
      What the games showed is that:
      Siebatcheu is a viable like for like alternate to Sargent. Sargent is more fluid/mobile but both are good at linking with the other attackers.
      Dike is a viable option if we need to change tactics. He’s speedy enough to be a counter attacking threat. Physical enough that he can muscle CONCACAF opposition.

      With the number of games scheduled and how physical CONCACAF games are, having viable depth options to back up/alternate players is going to be important.

  2. For this Summer my thought is if they won’t start NL semi they probably should be GC. Exception Aaronson because he had no off season.
    Nations League Roster
    GK: Zach, Hamid, Johnson RB: Dest, Cannon, Yedlin CB: Long, Brooks, Miazga, Zimmerman (it will be Ream prepare now) LB: Robinson CM: Musah, Adams, Wes, Lletget, Yeuill AM/W: Pulisic, Reyna, Aaronson, Weah F: Zardes, Sargent
    Gold Cup
    GK: Horvath, Turner, Ochoa RB: Reynolds, Araujo(?) CB: Richards, McKenzie, CCV, Robinson LB: Vines, Bello CM: DLT, Tessmann, Green, Holmes, Busio, Yeuill AM/W: Llanez, Alvarez ( we can dream), Nico, Mueller (if no Efra), F: Siebatcheu, Dike, Hoppe.
    Really unsure about those FBs. This could all change too if they allow roster switches after group stage of GC again. Pomykal if he’s healthy and playing. Clark could push his way in as well. I’m sure someone will have a good first half of MLS and step in as well.

  3. Dike needs one more camp with CP, and their connection/combo play will be deadly. Dike isn’t on CP’s level. He doesn’t need to be. Dike has got to be able to time his runs and hit thru balls one time. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s included, when we play the Swiss.

    • i am amused by some of the lines of convo. did people miss jordan with the nice leave for christian that becomes the PK? but ok let’s work on a chemistry project instead..”maybe we can get dike to combine with pulisic” takes on a certain irony then…..

      • Since this was an article about Dike, I’d thought I’d keep my lines of convo : symmetrical. So IV, you can Siebatcheu way out of this one! #305

    • I’d rather have Zardes as the backup in NL and then allow Siebatcheu, Hoppe, and Dike share the time in GC. Sargent is going to play most of the 180 minutes of the two NL matches so give the other three the almost month of GC time. Soto and Ferreira had their chance in OQ and didn’t take it. I watched most of the NI match again and really liked Siebatcheu. Dike should have finished at least one of those but with his clubs his production always outshines his xG so he typically finishes plays that shouldn’t be goals. So … I remain confused by Daryl.

  4. Overall the Center Forward options are coming into focus and rounding into a decent pecking order…
    1) Sargent – (1st choice option)
    2) Dike/Siebatcheu – Decent back-ups and provide a different look
    3) Gioacchini/Ferreira – more suited to False 9 role
    4) Soto/Hoppe – Injury reserve
    5) Morris/Zardes – Counter attack option
    There are still some duel national’s out there who could choose to join the USMNT, but until they make that choice the above should be able to get us through qualifications.
    Gregg just has to match game plan to which players he calls into camps.

    Jozy is done and shouldn’t be in the picture. Akinola should switch to Canada

  5. I would say Dike is not ready quite yet for WC level play, but damn he shows promise. I do believe he would tear up CONCAF teams with packed defenses, so I would consider him a viable roster pick for qualifying. He gives us an option in the air that we do not have with anyone else. And I liked the way he used his strength and size to clear space. Yes he should have finished at least 1 chance, but that was his first cap. I can forgive misses when he did everything else well. If he is missing chances like those after 15 caps, then we have an issue.

    • i think if we were bright and created a tactically diverse roster there is a role for a third 9 who is a tall guy for aerials. but he would not be the only option of the type, so are nico and jordan and soto and others.

      • His size and strength is what would cause issues for CONCACAF teams. He is nowhere near ready to be a consistently viable threat against European or South American teams. He needs quite a bit more polish the threaten for a WC roster based on my limited time seeing him play. But playing an away match on a crap field that limits the impact of technical skill with the ball on the ground, he would be a very effective player, probably a better/more effective option than those you mentioned.

  6. If you can’t recognize the potential of Dike, then you don’t know soccer. Unlike guys I’ve criticized like Lewis and Findley from the past, it seems clear that Dike is more than just speed. You must remember that he is inexperienced and young. He’s not used to the speed of the international game yet. A couple more international matches and he will put away one or two chances like the ones he missed in this last game.

    • (1) the outlets i’ve seen all graded siebatcheu higher. (2) GB played siebatcheu first both games. (3) siebatcheu didn’t look bad either. (4) both of them are chasing a pile of 9s i listed below, many of whom have produced goals. (5) neither siebatcheu nor dike put a ball in the net or even assisted someone else. (6) it’s a production position. (7) there are even U23s with caps and goals also. the standard to see the field is higher than “looked interesting.”

      however, all that being said, i will be curious if he makes gold cup. gold cup is the perfect event for players with something to prove and if we have a brain we rest the usual suspects.

      • This is similar to your sloppy argument that losing twice in a formation is equivalent to winning with it but against a b team. Weakening the positive case doesn’t fix the negative problem. You’re like I don’t care if Soto had a jillion U20 goals or a brace for the senior team already, pick the guy with no goals in 50′ in his only 2 games for a YNT or NT ever. Flyspecking Soto doesn’t change Dike’s mild track record — and I want people selected who are proven scorers.

        To be clear, I would grade Soto down a little for U23 but what you’re missing is he starts from the place of getting 2 G in 10′ when he subbed in. At that point I find it less convincing your guy hasn’t gotten much time yet. Time is what you make of it.

        Anyhow, the real point is Sargent and (whether I like it or not) Zardes are probably already on the NL team and there is probably one spot up, and a list competing for it, and only one of them is Soto. Even if the coach rated Soto vs Dike like you that’s one person on a list — many of whom managed goals in their caps.

  7. I can’t think of a USMNT coach, or another coach in any sport that doesn’t have a “go to guy” that lacks the talent or skill of his peers, yet gets to play more than he deserves to. Those only get left behind once they’ve completely cost their team crucial wins beyond all doubt. I’m thinking of Ricardo Clark, Bornstein, Ching for Bradley… Beckerman, Brek Shea, Chandler for Klinsmann and Agoos way back in the day for Arena…

    I hope not to see Zardes anywhere near a first or second choice roster, but I fear that he’s going to be there… sigh

    • No one has come close to matching Zardes strike rate.
      He averages .54g/gm, over a goal every two games, over the span of the last three years.
      During that same time he has also avg’d a goal/3 gms internationally.
      Until anyone else comes close to his production rate he will be in the picture.

      • His strike rate per 90 is poor. However GB propped up his old club player with so many caps he looks productive. I think if you gave Sargent or a list of others similar cap totals they would score several as well. But I think GB has rigged the game where Zardes will be the only one with the statistical case.

        This is part of my complaint about GB is his incumbency bias tends to protect veteran starters because many of the insurgents get so little playing time it is hard to produce anything to make your case. Which then favors most veterans except for Bradley who absolutely sucked. It’s a hand on the scales. Mind you, coaches get to pick their people, I just think friendlies have been used by other coaches more even handedly to give opportunities and see who plays well, where GB assumes his conclusion before the ball rolls and sets out to confirm his spreadsheets.

        So he assumes Zardes is better. So he gives all the caps to Zardes. So Zardes over 20 games accumulates more goals than people with a fraction of his caps. Ironically it should be unimpressive on a spreadsheet but I think GB is inconsistent about how hard he works his numbers sometimes. Otherwise you’d think a numbers guy would see Zardes’ tepid per 90 strike rate.

    • It is going to be interesting in May to see how many Zardes/ Roldan/ Jozy/ Guzan/ Ream types are in the 23. I think the limited friendly roster availability may be misleading some folks. With no U23 to worry about and full choice, does he bring back some of the Nations League/Gold Cup folks, or was the shift to Wales/Jamaica selections more telling than it appears? My money is on more of the 2019 folks come back than people are anticipating.

      • I would tend to think that if he rated Zardes as high as you’re making it out to be, Gyasi would have been called in to this camp, but since he wasn’t that should leave many to believe Zardes isn’t the “chosen one” that so many ranted about!

      • I will say Ronniet that Crew have Champions League matches coming up next week and given Gregg’s relationship with them they may have left him off for that.

      • i am not a zardes fan and if i had a choice he’d get cut. but i feel like i know this coach fairly well. he gave the player 14 caps in 2019 including both canada games in NL. zardes also played in the january 2020 game. i wouldn’t read so much into the part-roster weirdness that has followed because we were trialing U23s and a pandemic was on. the contests to come will generally be domestic or at least regional. sargent may start but zardes makes the team. watch. just like don’t be surprised if some of the 2019 head scratchers come back when the money is on the table.

        if i were a betting man, sargent zardes ferreira. this is not klinsmann, i have long since learned to put aside what i like or who i thought showed well. just watch who he gives the minutes to and he’s that obvious.

  8. follow him for the rest of the season means his chances will be based on club form. people are forgetting the pile of people already under consideration, the pair with U23, and the fact dike was coming off the bench behind sargent and siebatcheu in terms of minutes allocated this week. now, the coach may have rethought jordan but you’re talking a list sargent zardes jozy ferreira nico soto etc. (you could even play christian as a 9) and how does a guy who fluffs his finishes at a production position really fit in that?

    so i think the coach will watch his tape some more and see what happens. i actually thought some sparks but no goals speaks to the limits of club scouting. i think the serious set will be at NL and he’s probably going to be at Gold Cup instead. and that’s assuming he keeps scoring in club.

    personally i think you need one big body target player per 23 but i am not sure whether he would win that slot if we called players that way.

    • might sound like an insult but you could potentially have a better “B” team defense and a lot of interesting attacking people to play with, surplus to GB’s first choice. Horvath, CCV, EPB, Reynolds, Richards, Wood, Green, Holmes, etc. depending who he picks the “B” could be pretty good.

    • Dike picked up an injury during training which is why he didn’t suit against Jamaica and likely why he didn’t start against NI. His minutes probably have little to do with his perceived placement.

      • he played 25′-ish in the winter and 25′-ish now. bench, consistent. i don’t think if he was really hurt he sees the field.

        i also think you’re neglecting that this was the last window to play around with trialists and from here on out it’s basically for real. you’re reading an awful lot into being third choice striker appearing in the second game of the pair twice.

        i also think other soccer reporters graded him out similar or worse to jordan and they were both competing with sargent and others with U23 or resting.

    • I love your ability to ignore facts when it doesn’t fit your narrative. I don’t have any idea where Berhalter sees Dike in his ranking of CFs but trying to read into when he played is silly.

      • what facts am i ignoring? i am following the facts. we trialed Fs all winter and several scored goals. surely the coach noticed which. it is a production position. your guy had a poor first cap — as a sub in the second game of the pair. your guy had a decent second cap — as a sub in the second game of the pair — but still no goal. the coach might be intrigued but he has several options at the intriguing or above level to choose from — many of whom managed NT goals. you’re the one saying “ignore” — ignore no goals and ignore the coach treated him as the 3rd choice striker in both friendly pairs, basically giving him garbage time minutes in the less preferred second game with the less esteemed trialists. even if he is earning his way out of that slot, as i explained, there is probably one NL striker slot open and i doubt he’s the first candidate for it — unless GB is looking for a “type” instead of production. but you were telling me my analysis is afactual…..

      • and my point with the journalist grades is the ones i saw graded out jordan over dike. which suggests i am not imagining things. jordan had some decent hold up play and flicks and heels. he too didn’t score but putting one on the field before the other twice suggests a hierarchy.

      • That it was well reported that Dike had a knock in training and wouldn’t be available for Jamaica. You brushed it off like it wasn’t true because it didn’t fit. As for grades I always look at them too but most are completely subjective, what does the grader like. It also is usually hard for any sub to outscore a starter on those grades too. I thought both played well and showed promise.

      • i brushed it off because truly hurt players do not see the field in these games. eg llanez at u23. they get sat or sent home. one of the legal “outs” for required release for window games is “injury.” and if they get someone hurt worse they get “miles robinson/ atlanta” grief over it. don’t be silly. now, if you’re saying he had a bruise or two at this stage of his neverending season, i am sure he does, so do they all, lame excuse for anyone who ever played the sport at a decent level. if he saw the field it was deemed not worse than anything an average player carries around playing pro soccer — as opposed to what sent pulisic home during the winter games.

        funny listening to someone spin everything.

  9. I’ve checked out mentally from the USMNT for several years and it’s embarrassing to see Jozy Altidore and Gyasi Zardes still associated with “being in the mix”.

    On paper, there are positives with this crop of players but with more youth squads failing to qualify for their respective tournaments it’s incredibly frustrating to be a supporter of the US Soccer Federation. Feels like it’s being ran by incompetent politicians with no concept of soccer.

    • Eh. Jozy ain’t in the mix. A few looney pundits may give him mention…. but even GB when talking of options up top went down a list about 6 deep without giving him a thought. And Zardes was was down the list. Some of these things have predictably resolved themselves. Now if we can only get him to forget Acosta……..

      • acosta i think got to play because adams was left off and yueill and johnny were with the U23s. i also think that while how he looked vs NI was a specific team matchup — a tough defensive team that wasn’t going to let you sit on the ball and drink a coke in possession — it exposed the weakness in his game. i don’t think this coach pays close attention to why you have bad games so the bad game in what was an audition probably dooms his back to the pool. he probably rates out about #5 or 6 in the pecking order. we’d probably move mckennie back to 6 before he saw the field. but……depending who we call maybe he makes Gold Cup….never know….

    • zardes will be on the list because the coach loves spreadsheets and if you ignore context he led the team in goals in 2019, and continues to put up club numbers. i think it should be clear by now the club numbers do not translate to big game goals. they translate to scoring on canada or trinidad, games we should already win. i think the kids coming up could do at least that and maybe offer the chance to score on mexico unlike him. but i think we have an incumbency bias that favors the past. so i think based on how 2019 “went” he will be favored over other roster options who haven’t been given endless caps to score goals and make the same case. so circularly the coach will assume that the bird in hand is better. i think he was on the team for NL last time and those were the last full dress callups when we could pick anyone. we ignore who was on those teams at our peril.

      jozy is more complicated. i do think people are forgetting he was called last fall but then dropped. he remains on the coach’s mind. but his club productivity is almost nil as is his NT contribution. i think unlike zardes his injuries mean other players have had more chances than he has, and produced. i think he has more of a chance than some might admit — i could see this coach running out sargent zardes jozy — but this is a test of how bad our veteran bias is. cause while i mock the spreadsheets if the coach just looks at the numbers they would point him to a list of others based on either NT goals or club form.

      personally i’d like to see pulisic ferreira sargent as the 9s. but i think he plays christian wide and zardes makes the team. i hope jozy gets cut but think it will be a test of how backwards looking the coach is.

      • Zardes leads NT in goals in 2019, leading American goal scorer in MLS. IV’s take he’s a “spreadsheet guy”. Umm no that’s results. We’ve heard nothing but “you can’t look at club form only NT goals count” for three years from you, but as soon as you don’t like the guy it becomes oh NT goals don’t count if it’s against this team those games don’t count. You give Wood credit for his goal six years ago against The Netherlands why doesn’t Gyasi get credit for his?

      • sorry, what you don’t get is the proper way to analyze a forward is strike rate per game, which removes coaching favoritism and gets at who produces how much. analyzed as such, ferreira and soto are averaging a goal a cap which means they would get 6 goals in 6 games. nico would get 6 goals in 9 games. sargent in 2019 his rate would have been 6 goals in 12 games. pulisic’s 2019 pace would have been 6 goals in 13.2 games.

        so what you’re trying to do is tell me we have to start zardes because he got to start before and this accumulated 6 goals in 14 games, when if i gave probably a half dozen other strikers the same endless bowl of caps they would put up numbers even faster.

        re your bobby wood diss, the point is not just wood has scored as a striker on every good team in concacaf (as well as several good global opponents) — not just some wing mid goal on holland — but that we already tried relying on zardes in the gold cup and both jozy and he disappeared after the group round. this is not an abstract complaint, we need someone who can score on Honduras, Mexico, etc. he is the veteran and has no track record to do it. people can’t seem to do 2+2 on why we run out a set of people for mexico and lose. normal coaching response to that power outage is try something else, not do some chemistry work and try the same lineup over and over.

    • So first Gyasi didn’t count because he scored against Canada and TnT. Now it doesn’t matter who it was against because it took too long, even though Ferreira and Soto’s came against even weaker opponents. Keep moving the bar until it fits your narrative. Soto didn’t score in 32 minutes against El Salvador no problem, but Dike doesn’t score in 25 minutes against TnT get rid of that bum.

      • you’re suggesting you would take a forward who had no goals in two games over a forward with two goals in two games because the forward with two goals didn’t score any in one game. if it matters he got shut down one game then it should matter more the guy who couldn’t score in more minutes in two games. your logic is a twisted soft pretzel.

        i give him credit for his goals in the sense i think they reflect the coach’s esteem and likely retention for the next 3 games. my point is simply if the same attention was lavished on others they would arguably put up higher numbers than that. and your argument has to be bulk production because it’s been years since he has scored on anyone any good. you can talk smack about wood but 3 years ago — since zardes did anything worthwhile — he had goals on colombia and ireland, no slouches.

        and you continue to neglect that this is the guy we handed the gold cup starting role and he went scoreless the whole knockout round against the level of regional opponent we will see in the ocho. if trinidad or canada make the ocho it will be as basically repechage teams, not in the first 5 that are the serious contest for going to qatar.

    • Soto then also went 0-4 against U23 competition that will be worse than the competition in the GC so how long do we say his 2g vs Panama trumps the other matches. Which is his actual level?


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