Two of Canada’s biggest soccer prospects will lock horns this Saturday, as the Montreal Impact host the Vancouver Whitecaps in what will be their only regular season meeting of 2017.
The biggest storyline to follow heading into this all-Canadian matchup is no other than Jean Yves-Ballou Tabla against Alphonso Davies. The two Canadian prospects have Canadian soccer fans bouncing off walls. This matchup will show the two most promising talents face off for the first time, but Canadians would sure like to see them on the same national team for years to come!
The millennial Alphonso Davies has 5 appearances in 2017, 4 of them starts, while Jean Yves-Ballou Tabla has 2 starts in 6 appearances. Although these numbers might not sound all that reassuring in terms seeing them both start this Saturday, there’s a likely chance of it happening.
Davies has started 4 out of 7 matches for Vancouver and has no injury problems heading into the weekend. Whitecaps coach Carl Robson is quite fond of him, calling him much more mature and adapted for a player his age. Then there’s Ballou, who only has 2 career MLS starts, but Dominic Oduro's nightmare performance last week in the city of brotherly love will surely have paved way for Ballou to get the start on the right-hand side.
Although both youngsters have loads to prove, I see Ballou as the one with more weight on his shoulders heading into this one. Now is his chance to solidify his position in Mauro Biello’s starting XI. Not only is he technically gifted, his defensive attributes were on full display last week when he entered the game against the Union. Biello is stubborn when it comes to tinkering with his lineup, but the Ivorian has a huge chance at the weekend to make significant steps in his young career. He will, of course, have to deliver, we shall wait and see if he does just that.