The offseason acquisition everyone has been talking about and the youngster ready to captivate a league powered the Vancouver Whitecaps into the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday night, with a 2-0 (3-1 aggregate) win over the New York Red Bulls at BC Place.
Sixteen-year-old phenom Alphonso Davies, who looked like a player with years of experience under his belt out on the field, handed the home side an early lead in the fifth minute on a shot from close range. Davies was involved in a challenge with Kemar Lawrence on the left side of the penalty area, and the youngster patiently waited for the ball to come to his feet before slotting past Luis Robles.
Nine minutes after entering the match, new Whitecaps forward Fredy Montero delivered the final blow to the Red Bulls’ hopes of continental success with a strike from the middle of the box. The former Seattle Sounder worked his way into space off a corner kick and had plenty of space to fire his first Whitecaps goal past Robles.
The attack of the visitors took a hit early on, when Gonzalo Veron limped off with an injury in the eighth minute. The core of Sacha Kljestan, Bradley Wright-Phillips and substitute Derrick Etienne weren’t able to create consistent threats in the final third. Winger Daniel Royer was the only Red Bull to test David Ousted with a pair of shots on target.
The Whitecaps, who open their MLS campaign on Sunday against the Philadelphia Union, will face Liga MX side Tigres in the final four of the Champions League. FC Dallas will take on Pachuca in the other semifinal, with the first leg of that round set for the week of March 14. As for the Red Bulls, they’ll head to Georgia for a Sunday showdown with Atlanta United at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
Man of the Match
Davies put many on notice that 2017 could be his breakout season in the Pacific Northwest with his performance over 90 minutes against the Red Bulls. He scored the opener, and worked for the corner that produced the second tally.
Moment of the Match
Montero’s 76th-minute strike not only secured his club’s spot in the semifinal round, but it also gave Whitecaps fans a taste of what is to come during the league season.
Match to Forget
Most of the Red Bulls attack will want to forget the second leg in Vancouver, but it was a rough one especially for Wright-Phillips, who failed to put a shot on target in a game where the Red Bulls needed to record an away goal.