Canadians Abroad Roundup: Davies lifts another trophy with Bayern Munich

Bayern's Alphonso Davies, front, duels for the ball with Dortmund's Julian Brandt during the German Bundesliga soccer match between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, at the Allianz Arena, in Munich, Germany, Saturday, April 23, 2022. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

Another year, another Bundesliga title for Bayern Munich, who lifted their 10th straight league trophy following a 3-1 win over Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

While it was a routine season for Bayern, it was anything but for Alphonso Davies. Having coasted through the first half of the campaign without any injuries and shining under new coach Julian Nagelsmann, Davies was poised for a dominant campaign as the Bundesliga paused for the winter on Dec. 17.

Then Davies contracted COVID-19 over the holidays. He recovered but was diagnosed with mild myocarditis – an inflammation of the heart muscle – on Jan. 14. About 110 days after his last match, he returned to the field for the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals against Villarreal.

It was a long and gruelling process, though, especially mentally. Davies discussed that road to recovery recently in an interview with ESPN.

Since that Villarreal match, Davies has logged 339 minutes in five appearances (three starts). After a solid showing against Arminia Bielefeld last weekend, the Dortmund game was hit and miss for the Canadian star.

He had some positive moments in the final third, specifically these two sequences below.

But most of the time, Davies was double or triple-teamed and couldn't execute the right pass when he drifted inside.

That's to be expected for a player that's still getting his bearings. Anticipating a defender's next move while on the dribble has seemingly returned, now it's just regaining chemistry with teammates so those passes are completed more often.

Unfortunately for Davies, he has another three games before the season ends. Canada has Nations League games, and a possible home friendly, in June which he can participate in as well, though.

For now, Davies can enjoy a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title – his 11th trophy at just 21 years of age. By comparison, Atiba Hutchinson has won 13, making him one of the most decorated Canadian male players of all-time at club level.

At this rate, Davies will claim that undisputed honour within a year or two.

OTHER UPDATES AND ANALYSIS

• Lille's 1-0 win over Strasbourg marked the 16th time in the last 17 games that Jonathan David failed to score in 2022. In other words, David has just one goal in more than 1,300 minutes since the turn of the year.

There are tactical factors behind those struggles. Hatem Ben Arfa went a step further and blasted Jocelyn Gourvennec's tactics before he was expelled from the squad.

These are all fair criticisms, although some of this has to be pinned on David as well. Lille has cranked up the pace, played vertically and the 22-year-old has found himself in promising positions to no avail.

Perhaps David is focused on his impending exit from Lille with Arsenal and Inter among the interested parties in his services. A move of that stature brings great responsibility, with fans and media intolerant to dry spells of this magnitude.

• Ike Ugbo logged about 17 minutes off the bench for Troyes in its 1-0 loss to Nice on Sunday. The club remains two points adrift of the relegation playoff place with four games left in the season.

• It was 20 shots and 800 minutes in the making, but Tajon Buchanan finally scored his first goal for Club Brugge – the winner, no less – in a 1-0 victory over Antwerp on Sunday.

Watching this game in full, it's apparent that Buchanan has fully settled into Belgian football. There will still be the odd turnover or mistimed sequence but that comes with the territory for a player in his mould.

Here are some highlights from Brugge's No. 17, who was equally efficient on both sides of the ball.

• Down in the Belgian second division, Liam Fraser's season with Deinze came to an end on April 16. The 24-year-old finished with 10 appearances (nine starts) and 849 minutes after joining the club in January. I provided an in-depth recap of Fraser's campaign in the previous roundup as he prepares for the summer.

• In an all-Canadian clash between Chelsea and Tottenham in the Women's Super League, Jessie Fleming scored a banger to help the Blues defeat Shelina Zadorksy's Spurs 3-1.

• Speaking of the women's national team, keep an eye on Chandra Davidson at Sporting CP. She has 14 goals in 23 games in all competitions, which makes Davidson an outside candidate to crack the World Cup roster next year.

• It's been a while since Stephen Eustaquio was an unused substitute for Porto. The Canadian midfielder didn't see the field as the Dragões suffered their first defeat of the season, with Braga edging Monday's game 1-0.

Eustaquio had received three straight appearances off the bench before this last match, so at least the 25-year-old is seeing the field with some regularity.

• After a two-month absence, Steven Vitoria returned for Moreirense as it lost 1-0 to Portimonense on Saturday, logging about eight minutes off the bench at the end of the match. The club remains in the relegation playoff place in the Primeira Liga with three matches remaining.

• Cyle Larin was an 83rd-minute substitute for Besiktas in its 3-0 defeat to Kasimpasa. He's two months away from officially becoming a free agent, and at 27, it's now or never to make the jump to a bigger league. Here's Larin's statistical radar for the season.

• Meanwhile, Atiba Hutchinson was an unused substitute for the third straight game. Reports indicate Hutchinson could sign a new one-year contract to prepare for the World Cup, with the caveat of coach Valerien Ismael approving the deal.

Considering Ismael has used Hutchinson once in four games – a five-minute cameo against Trabzonspor on April 3 – that seal of approval might be harder to come by.

• Credit Istanbul Basaksehir for containing Sam Adekugbe's attacking threat for the 80 minutes he was on the pitch. Adekugbe was constantly pressured before even receiving the ball which negated his impact in the final third, as you can see via the heat map below.

He was defensively solid, at least, but when this is all a full-back sees over the course of a game, it's difficult to create any sort of chance.

• In the Championship, Junior Hoilett and Reading have officially secured their status in the division for next season, even after a 3-0 loss to Hull City on Saturday.

Hoilett started and played the full 90 minutes, doing everything in his power to get the visitors on the scoresheet, completing five of nine dribbles and two key passes. You can watch highlights of the 31-year-old's performance below (No. 23 in blue and white).

• After more than three months of patience, Richie Laryea finally made his debut for Nottingham Forest on April 18 in the team's 4-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion. The game was out of reach so the 15-minute spell was largely uneventful but it was still nice to see Laryea on the field.

“He’s part of what we’re doing here," said Forest coach Steve Cooper. "He’s part of the squad. If he’s called upon, I’m sure he’ll be doing everything he can to make sure he’s as ready as he can be.

"He’s a really, really good guy," Cooper added. "Calm, relaxed, has bought into what we are doing. His family are over here. He’s completely engaged. And he’s taken not playing as much as he would have liked - none of them take it well - but he’s taken it professionally. I’ve explained to him, the situation, and he accepts it."

The 27-year-old was an unused substitute in Saturday's 1-0 win over Peterborough United, although with four more games in an 11-day span, Laryea could see more minutes to give Djed Spence some rest ahead of the promotion playoffs.

• Daniel Jebbison and Sheffield United might be joining Laryea's Nottingham Forest in the playoffs at this rate. United edged Cardiff City 1-0 over the weekend which helped it retain the final playoff place with two matches remaining.

Jebbison, however, hasn't even made the squad in the last two games against Cardiff and Bristol City. Coach Paul Heckingbottom has seemingly preferred William Osula.

"I put Will in there today on merit and that's the challenge they have to understand," Heckingbottom said after last Monday's draw with Bristol City.

• Nearly two months after his last start for MK Dons, Theo Corbeanu was back in the team and finished the 90 minutes in a 2-0 victory over Morecambe in League One.

I've constantly highlighted Corbeanu's amazing technique, which excites a lot of fans. But his decision-making in the final third is lacking. He could benefit by passing more often instead of dribbling into trouble.

As stated in the previous roundup, that's one of the reasons why Corbeanu hasn't seen as many starts since the beginning of March. Let's see if that changes for the closing stages of the season.

• Liam Millar had a relatively low-key game by his standards in Basel's 3-0 victory against Luzern. He had one shot and one key pass.

• Even in a 4-2 loss to Hamburg, Scott Kennedy had some positive moments. He also produced some head-scratchers.

In a few instances, Kennedy anticipated well, made some vital interventions and progressed the ball. In others, he got burned in transition because he either tried to play the man or was simply outmuscled.

It was an overall solid display against one of the 2. Bundesliga's top sides, even if it came with the odd twist.

• Not for the first time, Milan Borjan kept a clean sheet as Red Star Belgrade shut out Backa Topola 4-0 in the Serbian SuperLiga. Borjan made three saves but was seldom tested apart from these two confident claims off his line.

• From the outset of Wednesday's game against Napredak, Stefan Mitrovic was like a man possessed. He was taking on defenders without fear, absorbing physical punishment – as he often does in the SuperLiga – and driving play for Radnicki Nis.

The hard work paid off with Mitrovic bagging his ninth goal of the season, which you can watch below along with some other highlights. He's No. 16 in blue.

The breakout campaign will surely lead to a transfer this summer, whether it's to one of the big two in Belgrade or outside Serbia remains to be seen. But with these underlying numbers, clubs will be lining up to acquire Mitrovic's signature.

Stefan Mitrovic's statistical radar with Radnicki Nis this season.

It took nearly an entire season but Richie Ennin has gained confidence in front of goal in recent weeks for Nizhny Novgorod. Ennin has a powerful shot and tremendous dribbling abilities, so it's easy to picture the ex-Toronto FC man as a goal threat.

Had this attempt found the back of the net against Lokomotiv Moscow on Saturday, perhaps Nizhny Novgorod would've walked out with a point instead of a 2-1 defeat.

Having 11 players on the pitch would've behooved the visitors, too, yet Ennin kept creating danger while Nizhny Novgorod was a man down.

That's the story of Ennin's season. As valiantly as he's played, he's either been isolated or offered very little service. Sometimes he's guilty of having tunnel vision, although it's easy to do so when a player is constantly taking on multiple defenders by himself out of necessity.

Ennin is on loan from his parent club Spartaks Jurmala in Latvia. But given that Nizhny Novgorod is likely staying in the Russian Premier League, the 23-year-old's relationship with coach Aleksandr Kerzhakov and the ability to bolster the squad, it could be wise to make this a permanent arrangement.

I still believe Ennin is best suited as an inside forward off the wing rather than a No. 9 or second striker, but he could flourish with another year in Russia with added support.

• Harry Paton and Ross County gave Celtic a challenge at home but ultimately succumbed to a 2-0 loss on Sunday in the Scottish Premiership.

Paton logged 69 minutes (nice) in the defeat and understandably had little impact – as did County as a whole.

Make it three clean sheets in six starts for Dayne St. Clair at Minnesota United. The 24-year-old showed off his terrific agility and reflexes to preserve a 3-0 win for Minnesota on Saturday, further proving why he's one of the top goalkeepers in MLS early in the season.

According to FBRef.com, St. Clair leads MLS in goals saved above expected with 5.6, or an absolutely bonkers 0.93 goals saved above expected per 90 minutes. No wonder why Minnesota has one of the best defensive records in the Western Conference through eight games.

• The current Canadian No. 2, Maxime Crepeau, started again for LAFC in a 2-1 victory over FC Cincinnati on Sunday. While Crepeau doesn't have similarly impressive shot-stopping metrics as St. Clair, he still has the edge as a sweeper keeper and ball-playing goalkeeper.

Advanced Goalkeeping Table
Goals Expected Launched Passes Goal Kicks Crosses Sweeper
Player Span Nation Pos Squad 90s GA PKA FK CK OG PSxG PSxG/SoT PSxG+/- /90 Cmp Att Cmp% Att Thr Launch% AvgLen Att Launch% AvgLen Opp Stp Stp% #OPA #OPA/90 AvgDist
Maxime Crépeau2022ca CANGKLos Angeles FC8.0800117.10.31+0.1+0.02367150.71965329.631.13933.331.164812.5111.3814.3
Dayne St. Clair2022ca CANGKMinnesota Utd6.0400018.60.28+5.6+0.93309930.31362152.941.84362.844.85835.210.1712.8

That being said, Cincinnati's goal could be pinned on Crepeau.

It was a quiet afternoon for Crepeau otherwise, but when teams elect to build from the back, those errors will happen.

• Doneil Henry had two appearances this week for LAFC, both of them starts, in the U.S. Open Cup win over Orange County S.C. and against Cincinnati. Wednesday's game didn't present much of a test, although it was apparent how rusty Henry looked as he was a second late when pushing up to win back the ball.

Unfortunately, Henry appeared to tweak his hamstring in the 28th minute of Sunday's match and was taken off shortly thereafter.

• The evolution of Mark-Anthony Kaye's role from LAFC to the Colorado Rapids is fascinating. Before joining the Rapids, although it was still noticeable for the remainder of 2021, Kaye was an all-action, box-to-box midfielder who often popped up around the box to break down opposing defences. That's reflected in his heat maps from 2018 until last year.

Mark-Anthony Kaye's heat maps, attacking from left to right in each of the four maps.

Here is Kaye's heat map so far this season in approximately 700 minutes of action.

Even Kaye's passes into the final third and passes into the box are all down compared to the previous four seasons. That's not to say he isn't a ball-progressing midfielder nor a line-breaker anymore because Saturday's game against Charlotte proves that he's still both.

• In Los Angeles, Raheem Edwards keeps chugging along. He went 60 minutes in the Galaxy's U.S. Open Cup win over San Diego Loyal midweek before racking up another 90 on Saturday in LA's win over Nashville.

Even on short rest, Edwards was still producing in the final third...

... While maintaining his off-the-ball responsibilities. That's the benefit of playing with a third lung, I guess.

• After starting HamKam's first two matches, Julian Dunn has been relegated to unused substitute twice in recent weeks. Hassan Kurucay, Dunn's replacement, has been excellent in the centre of the back three as well, so it'll take a lot of convincing to get back into the team.

• I was asked about Simon Colyn's progress on the Northern Fútbol Podcast last week and again on Twitter for this roundup. Colyn is on loan from the Vancouver Whitecaps at Jong PSV in the Dutch second tier where Ruud van Nistelrooy is the coach.

Ironically, van Nistelrooy moved Colyn into a false nine role three months into the season with mostly eye-catching results. Here is the statistical radar for a baseline.

The 20-year-old has grown in stature and strength since joining PSV, which translates to his one-on-one duels (see below). His close control and vision are still solid having come through Vancouver as a midfielder as well.

The one area of growth is decision-making around the box but his anticipation and awareness have rapidly improved in the box, which is leading to regular quality chances.

That's why another season at PSV could unlock even more of Colyn's potential.

• The Canadian U-20 team finished a two-week camp with a 3-0 win and 1-0 loss to Costa Rica in a pair of friendlies. Multiple sources informed me that Justin Smith (Nice) and Jesse Costa (Wolfsburg) were among the standouts. Watch out for their progress over the next few weeks with the Concacaf Under-20 Championship starting in June.

• Speaking of the U-20s, there were a few notable omissions from the 25-man squad, including Federico Rose of Velez Sarsfield in Argentina. Rose is an 18-year-old dual-national striker who lit up the U-17s last season, but has moved to the U-18s for 2022.

Rose scored in a friendly in February and followed it up with another tally in a league match in late March. He could be a nice addition for the striker depth in June if he keeps playing.

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