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By the numbers: Kendall Waston leads the way for Whitecaps FC in dominant defensive performance

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – “Heart, desire, determination, and grit.”

That’s how Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson described the defensive display put on by his side in a monumental 1-0 win over first-place Seattle Sounders FC Friday night at CenturyLink Field.

Coming into Friday’s match, Seattle hadn’t been kept off the scoresheet in 11 straight games – only LA Galaxy have scored more goals than the Sounders this season. Furthermore, the attacking duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, who many consider to be an MVP candidate, had racked up a combined six goals and two assists over their last two games.

But the ‘Caps managed to shut them out thanks to a heroic defensive performance. Defensive midfielders Matias Laba, who has a league-high 146 tackles this season, and Budweiser Man of the Match Russell Teibert, who had a good battle going with Dempsey all night, were on point for 90 minutes and the entire back line put in a strong shift.

One player who particularly stood out was centre back Kendall Waston – as evidenced by his statline.

Blocks

Clearances

Interceptions

Tackles

Recoveries*

2

16

5

5

9

The 6-foot-5 Costa Rican led Whitecaps FC in each of those categories (right back Steven Beitashour also had five interceptions, while Laba and left back Jordan Harvey each had five tackles).

Waston’s game-high 16 clearances were his second highest total of the season. He’s now averaging a league-high 10.89 clearances per game – the next closest player has 8.47.

Also of note, Waston's five tackles and interceptions both match his season-highs. 

“I brought him to the club to do a job and I think everyone’s seen in a short space of time how valuable he is,” Robinson said. “He’s an absolute monster for us … him and Andy O'Brien today, Trojans they were.”

Here’s a look at all of Waston’s defensive events (blocks, clearances, interceptions, tackles, recoveries) from Friday.

And here are a few other key defensive moments in the game.
 

21': Beitashour with a big block on a Martins strike

'90 + 3: Waston heads it off the goalline in stoppage time

 

* Opta defines a recovery as a situation where the player “wins back the ball when it has gone loose or when the ball has been played directly to him."

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