Kendall Waston just made himself a national hero.
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC centre back and captain scored a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer against Honduras on Saturday to send his native Costa Rica to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Waston powered home a 95th-minute header to draw the game level at 1-1, and more importantly, secure the single point Costa Rica needed to qualify for Russia.
It's the stuff you dream of as a kid – and you can see what it meant to Waston, not to mention all those in attendance at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica.
“As a player, when you debut and start to play regularly with the national team, going to a World Cup is always dreamed about,” Waston told CONCACAF.com this week. “It is the ultimate than can be achieved for any player.”
Waston started the match and played the full 90 minutes, while Bolaños was subbed off in the 72nd minute. Both players were major contributors for Costa Rica during this qualifying campaign.
Waston appeared in 12 of 15 matches dating back to November 2015, helping Costa Rica post an unbeaten 7W-0L-5D record in those matches, while Bolaños scored four goals – tied for the team-high – in 14 appearances.
Bolaños, who leads Whitecaps FC with seven assists this season, has already appeared in two World Cups for Costa Rica. In fact, the now 33-year-old led the Ticos with 10 chances created and two assists at the 2014 tournament, in which Costa Rica reached the quarterfinal stage.
Waston, on the other hand, is looking to make his first World Cup appearance – he was named to Costa Rica’s 30-man provisional roster in 2014 but did not make the final cut. It’d be hard to see him left out again this time around, considering his recent performances for both club and country.
Costa Rica round out their World Cup qualifying campaign on Tuesday vs. Panama.
Waston will be eligible to return to action for Vancouver ahead of their final home match of the regular season on October 15 against San Jose, while Bolaños will be serving a one-match suspension after picking up a red card in last weekend’s playoff-clinching win over Sporting KC.