Toronto FC will be hoping Bayern Munich-bound Alphonso Davies has an off day when the Reds take on Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship final second leg on Wednesday - even if they are willing him to reach the pinnacle of the game.
The 17-year-old will officially join Bayern in January 2019, but not before seeing out the remainder of the 2018 MLS campaign with Vancouver.
"It's so exciting — for him, for Canadian Soccer, for MLS as a whole," said Toronto midfielder Michael Bradley, who moved to the Netherlands with Heerenveen at 18, before spending three years at Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach. "You don't need to watch him long to see how talented he is, to see the ability and the potential. His way of running with the ball, putting guys on the wrong foot and going by them is special."
Toronto coach Greg Vanney echoed his captain's words. The 44-year-old also believes that Davies - with two goals and as many assists in his last two MLS outings - is the biggest threat to TFC's chances of getting their hands on the Voyageurs Cup.
"We're going to have keep an eye on Davies," Varney warned. "Obviously, he's a handful and has proven to be over the last few weeks, especially as his confidence has been soaring. We need to have a good sense and a plan that we’re accounting for him."
Toronto striker Jordan Hamilton's inside knowledge could come in handy on that front, even if stopping the six-time Canada international might be easier said than done. The 22-year-old can still remember the day he first caught a glimpse of Davies' prodigious talents at a Canada U20 training camp over two years ago.
"He was so frail and little, but you could see that he had talent," recalled Hamilton. "To see him grow from where he was, he's come a long way. That's a credit to what they've done in Vancouver. And I wish him all the best in Bayern when he gets there."
Toronto and USMNT forward Jozy Altidore - who has played at senior club level in Spain, England, Turkey and the Netherlands - is another member of the Toronto cast rooting for Davies.
"I'm a huge fan of his, his eagerness to learn, to play, that youthful exuberance ... you love to see it," he said. "I hope he continues to grow. I look forward to watching his career, and I hope he has the right people around him because he has a very bright future. Hopefully the Canadian [Soccer Association] does a good job promoting him in a way where kids that look like him will say, 'You know what? I can be Alphonso Davies.'"