The last time Adama Diomande played 90 minutes in a match was February. But there he was, popping up in the 90th minute to score the tying goal in LAFC’s 4-3 comeback against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Diomande would be the first to tell you he is still finding his fitness after such a long layoff. But with three goals in four competitive matches since joining LAFC, the striker appears to be enjoying life under Bob Bradley once again.
“Dio scored two goals tonight. He’s still a player that has a really good idea on how to get in spots that count,” Bradley said after the San Jose match. “But in terms of sharpness, balance, how he controls certain balls, and goes by people, that was not the best Dio by a long shot.”
If there’s a coach that knows Diomande’s best, it has to be Bradley.
Before joining Hull City, Diomande worked under the tutelage of Bradley at Stabaek IF. The striker joined the Norwegian side in 2015 after a disappointing spell with Dinamo Minsk in Belarus where he scored just three times in 23 appearances. And it was under Bradley that he rediscovered his scoring touch.
Diomande found the net in the 15th minute of Stabaek’s first match of 2015, a 1-1 draw with Haugesund. He would go silent for five matches following his debut goal. But after converting a penalty in Stabaek’s seventh match of the season, the flood gates opened.
The striker went on a tear in the Norwegian league in the month of May. He followed up his 35th minute penalty against Vålerenga with a hat trick in 31 minutes against Sandefjord in the next match. All said and done, Diamonde played six matches in the month of May, scoring eight times. He also had a stretch of five matches with at least one goal.
In 21 league matches under Bradley, Diomande scored 17 times, adding eight more goals in five cup matches. By the time the transfer window opened in August of that year, the striker had an array of suitors. Championship side Hull City of England signed the striker in September of 2015.
Diomande left Norway with nine league matches left to play in the 2015 season, but not before scoring a brace in each of his final three matches with Stabaek.
Away from Bradley and Stabaek, Diomande’s goals dried up once again though. In 49 appearances with Hull City, across the Championship and Premier League, Diomande scored just six times.
A variety of factors likely contributed to the downturn, including injuries and Hull’s insistence on playing Diomande out wide on the left in numerous matches. But you can’t help but think reuniting with Bradley once again, this time in LA, has reignited the striker’s goal production. Especially when you consider the striker has three goals in just 178 minutes of play thus far with LAFC – a shade under a goal every 60 minutes played.
With Diomande amassing 28 goals over 30 appearances in his two stints under Bradley, it’s hard to imagine the striker getting better. But after the San Jose match, Bradley was confident the Norwegian was just getting started.
“We’ll continue to push him,” Bradley said.
“If he can score goals playing on a night like that, then there a lot of good things that are still ahead.”