So Charlie Davies has signed with D.C. United on a 12-month loan. Let the speculation begin.
It seems as if everyone is the US soccer scene—including Davies himself—is hoping to see the onetime US international return to full health in the same town where his career—and his life—nearly came to an end a year-and-a-half ago.
If he can do it, he’ll be back to producing those highlight-reel moments we all remember. For today’s Three for Thursday, here are a trio of his best.
1. Hat-trick for Hammarby, 2007
Davies left Boston College after three years to sign with Swedish club Hammarby for the 2007 season. The move seemed good, but initially the goals weren’t coming.
That all changed in the final match of the season, 11 months after he signed. Davies dropped a hat-trick on GAIS for his first, second and third Allsvenskan goals.
The performance propelled Davies to the front of the Hammarby striker ranks, and in 2008 he made good on his promise by tallying 14 goals in 27 games. Hammarby also qualified for European competition that year, finishing 4th in the Allsvenskan.
2. The goal against Egypt
Davies’ great 2008 performance at Hammarby got him into the US national team fold. At first, he was integrated slowly by coach Bob Bradley. Then came the 2009 Confederations Cup and the do-or-die match against Egypt.
To advance, the Yanks needed to win by three goals (and hope that Italy lost by three). Early on, the Pharoahs were all over the typically slow-starting Americans. Then Davies, a surprise starter, scratched and clawed a goal out of nothing, fighting two defenders and the goalkeeper to punch in a loose ball.
The goal ignited the whole side, who got two more goals and, thanks to Italy’s collapse against Brazil, advanced.
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3. The goal against Mexico
Two months after the Confed Cup, Davies did it again, this time against the US’s bitter rivals, Mexico.
High noon at the famed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. World Cup qualifier. Conventional wisdom said the US had no chance.
But then Davies exploded behind El Tri’s defense, gathered up Landon Donovan’s through ball, and silenced 110,000 Mexican fans with an early goal.
It was the first time the US had ever had a lead in Mexico.
The Yanks couldn’t hang on for the win that day, but the speed and precision with which Davies had sliced through the Mexican defense, and the sureness of his finish in the most pressurized game in the region, had US fans over the moon.
No one can know at this point if Davies will ever be that kind of player again, and expectations should be kept in check.
But you don’t have to go too far back to find reminders of why so many people involved in the game here—players, fans, and a certain head coach in Washington, DC—have their fingers crossed.