Good Monday morning Caps fans. I know no matter how good a weekend you had, it was not as good as Alphonso Davies’.
With FC Bayern shutting down Paris Saint Germain 1-0 in Sunday’s Champions League final, Davies became the youngest defender ever to hoist the UCL trophy. As best I can remember, he is the only former MLS player to play in a UCL final and was the first Canadian (and fifth CONCACAF player) to feature in the biggest match in club football.
Bayern’s win also earns the Caps a tidy profit, with one of the add-ons in Davies’ transfer agreement satisfied. So even if you were rooting for PSG in the match Sunday (as I was, oops), you really couldn’t go wrong.
I obviously don’t need to dwell on Phonzie’s story—it is perhaps the most overtold one in world football, the 19-year-old’s rise through the ranks of world football is breathlessly repeated by announcer after announcer.
It makes the moment no less stunning however. Indeed, in spite of everything that has gone wrong within the Caps’ organization they (through admittedly a fair amount of sheer luck) produced a player who has the potential to go down as one of the finest fullbacks in the world.
Lest we think that this moment was preordained, that a clearly exceptional talent was destined for greatness, we should remember it was not. There were real questions as to whether Davies should be given the keys to the car, as it were, both in Vancouver and then in Munich.
Sure, the Caps cannot take credit for Davies’ rise, although given the organization’s propensity for not getting out of its own way, perhaps it should be credited for the fact that it didn’t screw up a wonderkid who fell in their lap.
And there were also real questions for awhile at Bayern, with many worried he had bit off more than he could chew. Languishing in the Bayern II side, many thought a path to the first team was out of the question, although Davies benefited from a changeover of manager thereafter and the rest is history.
I never thought I would hear the words “Vancouver Whitecaps” uttered during a UCL final but that’s what happened during the CBS broadcast. There is little new you can say about Phonzie at this point but there is no doubt that was still a goose-bump inducing moment.
He was admittedly mediocre in the final, although he responded well to an early yellow card to ride out the game well. His usually dynamic presence was countered well by Ander Herrera and PSG, however, and Bayern were generally less effective on the left hand side (it didn’t hurt that Kingsley Coman had a brilliant match).
It perhaps shows the level of expectations that Davies has set forth where we are more surprised when he does not dress down a world class defender than when such a moment comes to fruition.
The moment is obviously made the more wistful by the fact that there are no other Davies in the pipeline. The Caps will not be mistaken for Ajax anytime soon; the alignment of the stars that allowed them to make this imprint on the global game, while beautiful, is sadly fleeting.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the club will take note of this feeling and do more to build it into the kind of system that can regularly produce players making an impact abroad, even if it is a rung or two down the ladder from a Champions League final. Because watching Phonzie lift the trophy on Sunday, well, its hard not to feel something.
Onto some links
Shameless Self Promotion
The Caps square off against someone other than Toronto FC on Tuesday! Get your lineup predictions for the matchup with Montreal Impact here. If you missed some of our match coverage from Friday, we have the recap and the report card available for your perusal.
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