Vancouver isn’t as crazy about soccer as some of the cities in Major League Soccer (including Portland, whose incredibly aggressive fans took over an entire section of BC Place), and attracting fans is only going to be harder from here as the Whitecaps try to move on from Alphonso Davies.
But that’s a story for another time. For now, it must be stated that the Vancouver Whitecaps’ Sunday match will go down as one of the more storied moments in the city’s sporting history.
It wasn’t the Sedins leaving, no, but it in some ways it was a harder goodbye. It was the short-lived relationship that you broke off because your lives were going in different directions, or continents.
The Whitecaps and Davies hadn’t been through the hard times. No, there were really only good moments. And the final game before he's shipped off to FC Bayern Munich was a microcosm of Davies’ tenure as a Whitecap.
Right from the beginning of the match, the team acknowledged the weight of the moment, throwing the young star on the Jumbotron whenever it could and repeating his name during introductions.
But the organization couldn’t have predicted the performance Davies would go on to have.
The 17-year-old had gone six games without a goal, and though he promised the Vancouver faithful that he would make it a match to remember, no one would have blamed him if his number one focus were not getting injured.
Alas, that was not his focus.
Needless to say, the crowd went crazy after the individual effort from Davies, who effortlessly glided past multiple defenders before finding the back of the net with a deft left foot.
Not long after, Davies took advantage of a bad touch from a Portland defender.
Fans had other chances to rain cheers onto Davies, including the 67th minute, when the stadium announcer urged supporters to stand for the Edmonton native (who wears number 67). There was also his yellow card, which fans serenaded the referee over, and the substitution of Davies for young Simon Colyn, who almost scored on his first MLS touch.
It’s hard to put a game like Davies had in perspective, but forward Kei Kamara—who forged an immense bond with the young star—may have said it best in a halftime production which had members of the team say farewell to Davies.
“I want to say I played with one of the best.”
It was hard to watch Sunday’s performance as a fan and not think that you just saw one of the best.