VANCOUVER, B.C. -- It was a dream ending to a dream week.
Scriptwriters couldn't have capped off a whirlwind week for Alphonso Davies much better than the dazzling display the 17-year-old put on at B.C. Place on Saturday evening.
Davies hit two goals and added two assists to fire the Vancouver Whitecaps to a vital 4-2 win over Minnesota United, in a breathtaking performance that shows just what the 'Caps will be missing when he heads to Bayern Munich at the end of the MLS season in a record-breaking deal.
"We know he's a wonderful talent," 'Caps coach Carl Robinson told reporters after the match. "We know he's got ability, he's got potential, but when he keeps playing like that, that's not potential. That's reality."
The game was Davies' first multi-goal match as a Whitecap, but was his second multi-assist performance in his last six MLS matches.
Davies has missed Vancouver's last three matches across all competitions while concluding his transfer to the German giants, but even with all the emotions of the past week, there was no doubt in his mind that he wanted to play in the match against Minnesota, and as soon as he took to the pitch, all the hoopla of the past week was pushed far aside.
"It's amazing," Davies enthused about the perfect way to end the biggest week of his young life. "I love playing football. It's my passion. Being away for two weeks, sitting on the side, you're itching to get on the field, and when I got my opportunity, I took it.
"With all the news going on and coming back to Vancouver, I wanted it to be special... Every time I step on the field I just want to have fun. I don't want other distractions in my head while I'm playing the sport that I love."
With all the travel and media attention Davies has garnered in the past week, and with just two half training sessions under his belt in the last 10 days, it wasn't even a certainty that the young winger was going to start. Thankfully for Robinson and the Whitecaps, any risk of having Davies go the full 90 minutes were quickly dispelled.
"[I told him] to play simple," Robinson said. "I think the first 20 minutes was as bad as I've seen him play because the emotions of the week or two weeks that he's had, it takes its toll on a young player. That's why I kept him on, and I'm glad I did, because he got the fourth goal.
"Obviously he's on cloud nine and I tried to bring him back pretty quickly. I said if he plays and he does well, then he's buying dinner for everyone! So I'm sure he'll be buying dinner for everyone. He was good. He looked a bit tired at the end, but I wanted to keep him on because we've missed him for two weeks."
Saturday took Davies tally for the season to five goals and 10 assists. Heading into his third season as a Whitecap, the young winger had no goals and just one assist to his name. The talent was always there for all to see, but this year, his execution has been taken to the next level, and shows no signs of abating.
"I've been playing in the league for a couple of years now," Davies mused. "I think this time it's different because I have a little bit more confidence on the ball and off the ball. Every time I step on the field I try to do my best for the team and every time I get the ball I want to be positive."
Performances like the one against Minnesota, coupled with his big money move, will certainly also attract some extra attention from opponents and some heavy tackles.
That was evident in Saturday's match, and although Davies shrugs it off by saying he isn't concerned and expect it, Robinson is just hoping that referees give him protection.
"Hopefully people do their jobs correctly and protect him," Robinson stated. "We want the good players in the league. We talk about [all the good players] and Phonzie's in that category.
"We're just talking about a record transfer fee for the football club and Major League Soccer from an unbelievable soccer club in Bayern Munich. They see the potential, and when you see him like that, I actually think they've got a snip."