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Guest posted a article in AFTNPart of his successes on defence comes due to the form of the 10 players around him. Andy O’Brien has quietly assembled a strong season. Matias Laba has started to receive league wide recognition as one of the league’s premier defensive midfielders. Harvey, Beitashour, Koffie, and Teibert have all shown consistency, and Ousted has silenced critics with his excellent command of the box. But his teammates cannot be credited for some of the unbelievable statistics Kendall has racked up, including a legendary Cascadia Cup winning performance in Seattle in which he had 4 interceptions, 6 tackles, 3 blocks, and a stunning 18 clearances. As of October 16th, Waston was dominating the league in clearances per 90 minutes at 12.31, nearly 4 clearances per game more than the second highest. And of course, Waston has scored two goals for the club. The goals have been no fluke either. At every corner, every free kick, everyone’s eyes are on Waston. Fans, teammates, and even opponents know he’s the target. But it’s one thing to know it’s coming, and it’s another to contain the motivated man mountain. Waston’s runs are good, even clever. His physical ability even better. But what makes Waston so deadly on set pieces is his absolute hunger, an ultimate lust to be the first to the ball. Kendall shows a complete disregard for his (or anyone else’s) well-being, and he almost appears to have unwavering faith that he will be the first to it, and he expects to put it on frame. No more evident was his set piece prowess than in the 70th minute in the do-or-die season finale on Saturday. After a bursting run down the left by a lively Kekuta Manneh, Pedro Morales whipped the ensuing corner just inside the six yard box. Kendall Waston was probably the fourth most likely player to get to the ball. Yet, over the top of not one, but two Colorado defenders, and over a fully sprung Hurtado came the flying Tico’s torpedo header. It was a goal that will be etched into fans minds for years as it vaulted the Whitecaps into the playoffs in dramatic fashion. If his defensive performances haven’t already won you over, his timely playoff clinching goal surely did. Yet defensive performances and epic goals aside, there is still another massive part to Kendall Waston, a part that hasn’t been spoken of much. Kendall Waston has quickly become the emotional leader for the Whitecaps. It’s something Carl Robinson has talked about at length: that he wants not just talent, but also good people. He makes a point of conducting character references on targeted players. It’s something that’s often overlooked. Take Toronto FC, for example. They have an embarrassing abundance of talent, yet they finished the year a fair way below the red line, and they never looked like a group of people playing the same game. The Whitecaps, however, have started to really come together, and it’s showing in the results column. And suddenly, Kendall Waston is at the middle of it. Without question, Pedro Morales will remain the captain. His gaudy game changing ability and amazing experience allows him to really decide the pace and direction of the game. Mauro Rosales has become a leader for the attackers, and has quietly shown some of the younger players how to play and act like a professional. And Russell Teibert has been the young Canadian leader, the flag bearer for the future of the club and a never ending generator of effort. Kendall Waston is different. He’s not yet the wise old soul who knows where and when to push the pedal. He’s not the crafty and cantankerous defender who easily balances on the thin edge of authorities’ attention. What he is, though, is a naturally charismatic and endearing figure. He’s relentless, positive, and just a little bit brash. He’s easy for fans to love, and even easier for opponents to hate. He’s quickly shown a knack for being able to jack up the intensity when becoming stale is the easier route. He’s made his share of mistakes, but they have yet to cost the Whitecaps in any measurable way. His mistakes don’t cause strife in the squad, but rather cause the squad to dig deeper to straighten out the course. He never appears willing to break, or even fade. He reacts to goals and wins as if he was born in blue and white. And when he does score, and when they do win, players run to Waston, and he becomes a focal point for the direction of the squad. It’s only been ten games, less than a third of a season, but Waston has quickly become the player who lifts the players (sometimes literally) around him. Winning an away playoff game in Frisco, on short rest, after such an emotional win against a very good FC Dallas team will be no small task. But with the control and intelligence of Morales, the wisdom and guile of Rosales, and now the unabashed heart and desire of Kendall Waston, it’s become hard to bet against the boys in blue and white. And should they be able to pull of something magical, there will no doubt be plenty more moments of players piling on the mighty Waston when the final whistle blows.