After the team scored a dismal 30 league goals last year, TFC's Bright Dike and Gilberto aim to have a big impact alongside high-scoring vets Jermain Defoe and Dwayne De Rosario.Heading into the 2014 season, Toronto FC seems to have a relative embarrassment of riches at the attacking end of the field.
Boasting an offence that includes the likes of incoming England international Jermain Defoe and prolific MLS goalscorer Dwayne De Rosario, TFC is expected to vastly improve on an anemic attack that only managed to score 30 times in 34 regular season matches last year
Big names aside, Toronto's success on the score sheet will also depend largely on the team's lesser known players. Bright Dike will presumably be battling it out with new Brazilian designated player Gilberto for a spot in Toronto's starting XI, with both men looking to make a significant impact on a 2014 TFC season filled with high expectations.
Nigeria international Dike returns for a first full season at BMO Field, and he'll be looked upon to find some consistency after showing flashes of brilliance at both the club and national team levels.
"I want to have a breakout year this year," Dike stated bluntly when asked of his goals for the 2014 campaign at a TFC media event on Tuesday. "Basically that's the small gist of it, but I have small personal goals that I want to set."
Among those goals is making it to Stephen Keshi's Nigeria squad for this summer's World Cup, which Dike believes is a good bet based on his recent play.
"[Keshi] said that the last camp went well for me, and hopefully I keep getting called up and eventually make the team for the World Cup," Dike said. "All you can do is keep playing your best and make sure you're getting better every day."
Part of that daily improvement will come in training and in club games alongside Premier League veteran Defoe, with whom Dike is eager to familiarize himself when the Tottenham striker moves to Toronto at the end of the month.
"Defoe's a world class player," Dike said. "[He's] a good person to pick his brain and learn from, so I'm looking forward to that."
For Gilberto, the upcoming season is less about international aspirations. Being Brazilian, he comes from a country exceedingly rich in attacking talent, so the 24-year-old's sole focus is to make a name for himself on a new continent this year.
"I have a goal," Gilberto said via a translator. "I'm trying to score 25 goals and I'm going to see if I can meet that."
While aiming for 25 goals in a single season in a new league is extremely ambitious -- countryman Camilo won the 2013 MLS Golden Boot with 22 regular season goals last year -- Gilberto's teammate Michael Bradley said that an aggressive attitude is a key trait for a successful striker.
"In any team, the attacking players, the forwards, they live off scoring goals," Bradley explained. "We want to try to put [Gilberto] in positions where he can get chances, where he's scoring goals, because that's only going to make our team that much better." -------------- goal.com