Costa Rican hero shifts focus to Whitecaps making history
Waston’s looking forward to setting club on a playoff pedestal, winning a trophy
“El Mundial, el Mundial, el Mundial ...”
Even if you saw Kendall Waston’s goal that sent Costa Rica off to the World Cup live last Saturday, a re-watch is liable to send shivers down your spine.
A moment of roaring national joy, with TV commentator Kristian Mora repeating the outcome (el Mundial being Spanish for World Cup) over and over.
Fans dancing, coaches and players running about.
That’s the best of sport. Waston, who rose above every Honduran defender to get his head on the ball in a manner we’ve seen time and again with the Vancouver Whitecaps, went nuts after watching it sail in to the top corner.
He took off down the pitch, ripping his jersey off, seemingly powered forward by the screams of his country’s fans.
“I just went crazy,” a smiling Waston told reporters on Thursday. “When everybody went crazy I felt like the stadium was going to fall down. It was a huge moment for us. I just remember taking off my jersey, running around. Everyone
from the bench went crazy, they ran across the pitch. It was an awesome moment.”
His name will go into the history books as the guy who clinched Costa Rica’s sixth trip to the World Cup. That’s nothing to sniff at. National hero? “I don’t know, what I know is that I get in the history of Costa Rica,” he admitted.
Sunday, he could find himself locking a second highlight in a week: an MLS Western Conference title. It’s simple now. If the Vancouver Whitecaps beat San Jose at B.C. Place Stadium, they will be the No. 1 seed in the MLS’s west playoffs.
Last week may have been amazing, but it’s now the past, says Waston.
“The focus is always there, obviously I enjoyed that moment. But now with our club, we are looking forward to win a trophy,” he said. “We know what we are playing for and we just want to make history for this club.”
It could be quite the week for Waston. World Cup qualification. Maybe setting his club on a great big playoff pedestal. Oh and last Sunday? That was his fifth anniversary with his wife.
GOAL KICKS: Yordy Reyna’s Peru and Stefan Marinovic’s New Zealand are playing in a two-leg playoff for a final World Cup spot next month.
Exciting news for the Whitecaps’ profile, but the schedule prompted worry the Caps would be without their services in the second leg of their potential western conference semifinal, which would have the Vancouver leg on Nov. 5.
The window for the Peru/New Zealand series opens Nov. 6, meaning were the duo called up, they’d have to leave well ahead of the Nov. 5 match.
Crisis averted, it would seem, as a report from the New Zealand Herald newspaper suggests the World Cup playoff will be played Nov. 10/11 Down Under and Nov. 13/14 in South America.
I just went crazy. When everybody went crazy I felt like the stadium was going to fall down. It was a huge moment for us.
Costa Rica’s Kendall Waston celebrates after scoring on a header against Honduras during their World Cup qualifier on Oct. 7 to send his country to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.