Oh how quickly four draws turns into unbeaten in six. After gaining form last Friday against a last place Colorado Rapids squad, The Vancouver Whitecaps put on a memorable second half-performance yesterday as what could have been a disappointing 1-1 draw quickly turned into a 5-2 trouncing over Orlando City.
After a fairly sleepy first 35 minutes, marked only by a quality Brian Rowe stop on Canadian international Will Johnson, the brilliance of Alphonso Davies began.
After a good defensive play by Felipe, Davies mesmerized all four Orlando City defenders leaving Kei Kamara largely unmarked and easily able to slot it home.
Taking a 1-0 lead to the half time whistle, and with 3 Orlando City players already in the book, this left many on twitter foreshadowing a second half sending off.
No way there's not a sending off in this #VANvORL game the way these early cards have been handed out. Way more physical affair than I expected.— AFTN (@aftncanada) June 9, 2018
These suspicions were rewarded in the 58th minute.
Yet in typical Whitecaps fashion, the home side struggled to play in possession a man up and would concede in the 64th minute as Nerwinski, Aja and then Henry were all caught out and Sasha Kljestand deftly deflected the ball in at the far post.
The Whitecaps must lead MLS in goals conceded while up a man. It’s truly astounding to watch them with an “advantage.” #VWFC— Peter Galindo (@GalindoPW) June 10, 2018
While the Whitecaps’ propensity to concede up a man is certainly troubling, they would soon outscore their problems.
In the 76th minute, Alphonso Davies scored his second career MLS goal as the beneficiary of sustained Whitecaps pressure and the immediate impact of substitute Jordan Mutch.
Fast-forward to the 85th minute and this is where things started to get crazy.
First, Yordy Reyna was brought down in the box and after brief video review a penalty was given. Kei Kamara would go on to slot home his second of the match making it 3-1.
Then in the 87th minute, Davies mania took full flight.
4-1. Then in the 90th minute...
5-1! The pace and dribbling of Alphonso Davies was simply unstoppable against an Orlando City opponent which already struggled to defend against players on the counter-attack. There was a moment in BC Place where it felt as though the Whitecaps were simply scoring at will. While Davies has given us glimpses of this calibre of play at times, it was wonderful to see the 17-year-old dominate a match as throughly as he did. For all that has been made during the early stages of the season about the Whitecaps defensive and midfield struggles, maybe Davies & Co will be enough for the Caps to simply outscore their problems.
In the 94th minute, Aja and Henry were caught out for a second time and the ball slipped through the legs of Brian Rowe giving Dom Dwyer and Orlando City a last minute retort and making the match 5-2. By this point though the match was already over, with fans still buzzing over the brilliance they had witnessed just a few minutes ago. Davies Mania looks like it’s here to stay, at least until he’s scooped up by a top European club.
Alphonso Davies in 16 games this season:— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 10, 2018
7 assists (3rd in #MLS)
66 successful dribbles (1st in MLS)
138 duels won (2nd in MLS)
22 chances created
Still only 17 years old. #VWFC #WhitecapsFC ⚡️ https://t.co/9SIpU8l75t