Davies - dribble vs LAFC -
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

By the numbers: Davies, Quintero among best dribblers in MLS

VANCOUVER, BC –  Alphonso Davies is doing things that have never been done before in Major League Soccer. At least not in the last decade.

It’s no secret at this point that Davies is an absolute menace in open space. Vancouver Whitecaps FC captain Kendall Waston called him unstoppable after last week’s 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake, in which Davies blew by a pair of defenders to set up Anthony Blondell for a tap-in.

Of course, the 17-year-old Canadian is not the finished product yet. 

He spoke to media this week about wanting to improve his decision-making and delivery in the final third – Davies has a goal and three assists on the season and probably could have had a few more. But when it comes to beating defenders in one v. one situations, there aren’t many players better. In fact, the statistics suggest that there hasn’t been anyone better dating back to 2009, the furthest year in which there is data available from Opta Sports.

Davies is averaging 3.85 dribbles completed per 90 minutes since joining MLS, which is the most of any MLS player who has at least 1,000 minutes under their belt (which we felt was a reasonable enough sample size). For reference, here’s how Opta defines “dribble.”

“This is an attempt by a player to beat an opponent in possession of the ball. A successful dribble means the player beats the defender while retaining possession, unsuccessful ones are where the dribbler is tackled.”

See below for a list of the league’s top five dribblers since 2009.

 

Dribbles completed/90

Minutes played

Alphonso Davies

3.85

1,989

Kwadwo Poku

3.54

1,246

Valeri "Vako" Qazaishvili

3.48

1,320

Armando Cooper

3.33

1,296

Fabian Castillo

3.3

12,016

And see below for a list of the league’s top five dribblers in 2018 (note that we have reduced the minimum minutes played to 100 for this one).

 

Dribbles completed/90

Minutes played

Darwin Quintero

6.33

270

Alphonso Davies

5.51

637

Ignacio Piatti

5.29

629

Mauro Diaz

4.66

386

Ilsinho

4.6

176

Pretty good company.

You’ll notice that Davies is second to only Darwin Quintero in 2018, which is relevant because the two players will square off on Saturday when Vancouver Whitecaps FC pay visit to Minnesota United FC at TCF Bank Stadium (11 a.m. PT on CTV, TSN1, and TSN 1040 radio).

This will be Vancouver’s first-ever meeting against Quintero, a Colombian forward/midfielder who has two goals and one assist in three matches since joining Minnesota earlier this season. The ‘Caps will certainly be prepared for Quintero – as will Minnesota for Davies.

The question is: can either of them be stopped?