Everyone is well-versed in Alphonso Davies’ game-changing pace and ability to dice any defender on the planet off the dribble, but it’s his increasing effectiveness in the final third that makes the 20-year-old standout as one of football’s brightest talents.
That’s not to say it’s a new development in his game. At the tender age of 17 Davies was already one of Major League Soccer’s most devastating players in attack, scoring eight goals and providing 10 assists in 31 games to help facilitate his $11 million move to Bayern. (He’s now valued at $155 million.)
His deployment as a left back at Bayern has masked some of his ability further up the pitch, but he’s already got three assists in seven Bundesliga appearances this season to highlight that part of his game.
But it’s not until you see a performance like the one Davies produced in Canada’s 4-1 beatdown of Panama on Wednesday night that you truly appreciate how spectacular this man is. There’s no question that he’s CONCACAF’s premier player at the moment.
Watch these extended highlights of the game and what you’ll see is an 11-minute, 30-second video in which the first 1:30 is Panama’s fifth-minute opener from Rolando Blackburn. After that, it’s 10 minutes straight of Alphonso Davies; it's a highlight reel.
Deployed up top alongside fellow phenom Jonathan David, Davies frequently found himself playing through the middle and finding space between Panama’s backline and midfield. Once Davies is able to turn and run at the defense, it’s game over.
It was Davies who took the corner that forced a Panama own goal for Canada's equalizer. It was Davies who scored what would prove to be the game-winner in the 66th minute — and what a goal it was.
ALPHONSO DAVIES, TAKE A BOW pic.twitter.com/GMUFruX6St— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 14, 2021
Davies then got the assist on Canada’s fourth, putting the finishing touch on a virtuoso performance. He was taken off in the 81st minute to a standing ovation from the 26,622 in attendance at BMO Field.
| FOCUSAlphonso Davies played as a forward in Canada's 4:1 #WCQ win over Panama, and it's safe to say he enjoyed the role:
⚽️ 1 goal
4 shots/2 on target
️ 1 assist
2 key passes
7/7 successful dribbles
⚔️ 10/12 duels won
9.5 SofaScore rating
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) October 14, 2021
“Phonzie’s a big influencer in this group,” Canada manager John Herdman said after the match. “He’s a humble guy but when he speaks, it reminds us of (Christine) Sinclair. When he speaks, people listen.”
Another person who’s clearly paying attention is Drake.
— Canada Soccer (@CanadaSoccerEN) October 14, 2021
Davies will likely again play up top when Canada welcomes Costa Rica to Edmonton on Nov. 12. It’ll be interesting to see how Herdman decides to deploy Davies after that as next up is Mexico on Nov. 16.