Alphonso Davies raised a stir this week — just by talking to the media.
The 17-year-old Vancouver Whitecaps winger does not go in front of cameras and microphones often, because the Major League Soccer club shields him from potentially negative exposure. He will be front and center again Saturday as the Caps (4-4-1) visit Minnesota United (3-5-0).
Davies is expected to play a key role as the Whitecaps play without key offensive players Kei Kamara, Jordon Mutch (both injured) and Cristian Techera (suspended).
“There is a time for interviews and a time for media, but he needs to do his talking on the pitch with his (soccer),” coach Carl Robinson told reporters. “I think he’s doing that this year.”
Davies, who was born in a refugee camp in Ghana but grew up in Edmonton, came off the bench and assisted on a key insurance goal in Vancouver’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake last week. He now has a goal and three helpers in his second full MLS season.
“Going forward I think I’m happy with my performance, but I think I can be a little bit better,” Davies told reporters.
Robinson wants his players to be more disciplined in Minnesota. Techera became the fourth Whitecap ejected this season after he took off his jersey while celebrating a penalty-kick goal against RSL. It was his second yellow card of the game, resulting in an automatic red.
“I’ve addressed (the lack of discipline) with them because I don’t want to play with 10 men or nine men,” said Robinson, who saw two of his players tossed in a 6-0 loss to Kansas City.
Meanwhile, Minnesota will look for offense from forward Darwin Quintero. He has two goals and an assist in three games since moving to MLS in March from Mexico’s Liga MX.
The Loons are looking to go on a good run after ending a four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over Houston.
“We are going to need another big performance to get three points on the weekend,” Minnesota coach Adrian Heath told reporters.
While trying to stop Davies, United defender Jerome Thiesson hopes to rekindle the offense that he’s previously displayed against the Caps. He scored one of his two career goals against Vancouver in 2017.
“Perhaps it is that time again — that rare time again,” he told reporters.
—Field Level Media