Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies (67) is cheered by fans after playing his final match as a member of the MLS soccer team, in Vancouver, on Sunday October 28, 2018. Davies, who grew up in Edmonton, Alta., and turns 18 on Friday, signed with German club Bayern Munich earlier this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Teen sensation Davies dazzles with 2 goals in final game with Whitecaps

Youngster leaving MLS to join Bayern Munich

VANCOUVER — Alphonso Davies said he got the “perfect ending” to his Major League Soccer career on Sunday.

The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder scored a pair of highlight reel-worthy goals in his team’s 2-1 home win over the Portland Timbers.

“Coming in this game, knowing it’s my last game for Vancouver, I just wanted to leave with a positive feeling,” he said.

The ‘Caps (13-13-8) are out of the playoffs, so the victory marked the team’s final game of the season.

It was Davies’ final match with the club after the Whitecaps reached a record-breaking US$22 million transfer deal with soccer giant Bayern Munich in July that will see him play for the German team through 2023.

Andres Flores scored for the Timbers (15-10-9) in the 90th minute. It was his first goal of the year.

Davies’ goals were his seventh and eighth of the season. He also had 11 assists.

Davies was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his parents fled the Liberian civil war. His family immigrated to Canada, eventually settling in Edmonton.

There he was discovered by the Whitecaps’ recruiting staff. He joined the club’s residency program in 2015 and steadily worked his way up to the MLS squad, with his league debut coming in July 2016.

Davies’ family was on hand to watch his final match in Vancouver on Sunday. His parents offered congratulations and told him they were proud when he left the field.

Cameras also caught his mom also trying to show some affection.

“As you can see, my mom tried to pick me up,” he said with a laugh. “But I’m a big boy now. I’m not a little baby any more.”

Messages of thanks and encouragement were broadcast across the big screen throughout the game. They came from Davies’ teammates on the Whitecaps and the Canadian men’s soccer teams, and from other athletes, including Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid.

The crowd of 25,348 also rose and gave the young man a standing ovation in the 67th minute, a nod to his jersey number, 67.

On the field, his teammates made a concerted effort to put the ball at his feet and give him an opportunity to realize his season-long goal of netting a hat trick.

That showcased how supportive the team has been throughout his career, Davies said.

“The team is an amazing team,” he said. “And playing my final games here, they just wanted to get me the ball as much as possible and let me do what I do. And I couldn’t thank them more for pushing me every day in training and also off the field as well.”

RELATED: Bayern Munich completes transfer for Canadian star Alphonso Davies

Sunday’s game was bittersweet for Davies, who said he’s disappointed his career in Vancouver is over.

“They’ve done so much for me,” he said. “But I think in the off-season, I’ll just go back and look at my career here and try to take it all in before I go (to Germany).”

The young athlete wanted to thank the Whitecaps fans with his performance on Sunday, said Craig Dalrymple, the team’s interim head coach.

“There’s something about him. He just has a knack to continue to prove people right. … He’s electric,” he said. “A fantastic person and obviously a great talent.”

An apparent passing of the torch took place in the game’s 86th minute, when Davies was subbed out for 16-year-old Simon Colyn, who was making his first-ever MLS appearance.

Colyn immediately showed he belonged, getting the ball alone deep in Portland territory. His shot went just wide of the net.

The moment gave Davies deja vu of his first appearance in a league match.

“Simon stepping in, he almost scored. I would have run on the field,” Davies said.

Colyn is an “extremely intelligent footballer,” Dalrymple said.

“He’s not Alphonso and we don’t want him to be Alphonso. He’s Simon Colyn and he’s got different qualities,” said the coach, who usually leads the club’s residency program.

There are a number of bright young players coming through the Whitecaps system, Dalrymple said.

“We’ve just got to make sure that we give them opportunities,” he said.

This season has been a difficult one for the Whitecaps, who struggled to keep the ball out of their net, dropped key games and underwent some upheaval late in the season when coach Carl Robbinson and several of his assistants were abruptly dismissed.

Vancouver finished eighth in the MLS Western Conference, two spots out of playoff position.

There was some frustration about missing the post-season, Dalrymple said, but there’s also optimism about the future.

“Clearly there’s a core group here that can take this positive stretch — whatever you want to call it — into next season and continue to believe,” he said. “Because the group’s not far away from contending way up the table.”

Notes: Whitecaps fullback Jake Nerwinski registered the assist on Alphonso Davies’ first goal on Sunday. The second goal was unassisted. … The Whitecaps controlled the momentum through much of the match, holding possession for 59 per cent of the game. … Davies will turn 18 on Friday. He said he has no plans for his birthday.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

 

Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies, left, embraces his father Debeah Davies after playing his final match as a member of the MLS soccer team, in Vancouver, on Sunday October 28, 2018. Davies, who grew up in Edmonton, Alta., and turns 18 on Friday, signed with German club Bayern Munich earlier this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Just Posted

Most of Salmon Arm’s Downtown Activity Centre tenants have found new homes

Too little, too late, say those who have been asked to stay, pending a new real estate deal

Salmon Arm, Sicamous to get $3 million for affordable housing projects

Province provides funding for 4,900 new affordable mixed-income rental homes across the province

International students hit hard by B.C. tuition fee hikes

Campaign seeks regulatory controls be imposed on post-secondary institutions

Crash on Highway 97B near Salmon Arm downs powerlines

Emergency crews responding to a crash south of 10th Avenue SE

Salmon Arm family receives arena dedication for construction support

Bill and Doug Newnes, Newnes Machine recognized for their contribution

Your weekday weather update

Flurries and more rain anticipated for the Okanagan - Shuswap

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Sicamous RCMP catch two for driving offences

One prohibited and one impaired driver taken off the road

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at B.C. naval base

Report of Oct. 5 sexual assault on Vancouver Island base taken over by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Canfor to buy 70 per cent stake in Swedish Vida Group for $580 million

The privately held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet.

Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty in Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia’s top prosecutor is recommending the death penalty for five suspects charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Most Read