Obviously the transfer fee the Vancouver Whitecaps received for Alphonso Davies was nice but perhaps the greatest benefit they have reaped from his presence has been the opportunity to somehow fashion some kind of a silk purse from a sow’s ear of a season.
And that purse got a little bit silkier on Sunday afternoon at BC Place as the Whitecaps beat the Portland Timbers 2-1 with Davies scoring both of the goals (the first with a trademark surging run and shot).
None of that made up for the debacle of a year but did at least leave everyone departing the stadium with a modicum of humanity in their hearts.
The cynic will say that the Timbers were resting players and therefore not at full strength. But how many times have we seen the Whitecaps react to just such a scenario with timidity?
But not this time around as Craig Dalrymple sent out a team with the attitude of trying to win the game rather than settling for the minimum.
He also broke all previous protocol by asking his players (trusting his players) to pass the ball on the ground and use movement to open up the opposition, with even attacking set pieces seen as another chance to methodically build an attack rather than the be all and end all of forward intent.
Hopefully this was a foreshadowing of what is to come from the new coach next year.
Davies aside there were also good outings for both Nerwinski and Levis and Aly Ghazal had the kind of game to emphasize his value to the team.
Just sitting in front of the back four breaking up attacks and playing simple passes.
Bizarrely Vancouver finished the campaign two points out of the playoff places and it’s tempting to wonder what might have been different had they had a full squad available for selection in that recent 4-1 home drubbing by Sporting Kansas City.
But the reality is they didn’t deserve to make the post-season given how they played and it was certainly sobering to see so much salary cap wandering the field at the end of the game in casual attire.
If points were awarded for wearing hipster cardigans then Vancouver would be clear favourites for the Supporter’s Shield.
But instead it’s all about farewells now.
To Davies who has somehow maintained his sense of perspective despite carrying the club both on and off the field for much of the year and to so many others (Maybe a dozen or more?) who either aren’t wanted or want to move on.
It’s going to be a maelstrom of rumours and news and speculation over the next few weeks and that’s part of the fun of being a fan.
Not as much as being in the playoffs of course but beggars can’t be choosers.
Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings.
Marinovic-5.5, Nerwinski-6.5, Levis-6, Waston-5, Henry-6, Ghazal-6, Teibert-5.5, Reyna-5, Davies-7*, Mutch-6, Kamara-5.5