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Kendall Waston Finishes 2nd in Defender of the Year Voting

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Waston claims the media vote but loses in the club and player categories, finishing 21.64 points behind the winner.

Not pictured: Laurent Ciman, busy winning an award for (one assumes) being in the proximity of Didier Drogba.
Not pictured: Laurent Ciman, busy winning an award for (one assumes) being in the proximity of Didier Drogba.
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

One gone, two left.

Supporters dreaming of a Vancouver Whitecaps sweep of the Major League Soccer post-season awards will be disappointed today to find that Kendall Waston finished 2nd in "Defender of the Year" voting behind Laurent Ciman of the Montreal Impact.

Waston did win the media vote, earning 29.58% to Ciman's 25.35%. Unfortunately, Ciman took the player vote with 21.02% to Waston's 15.34%. Even worse, Matt Hedges of FC Dallas rained on the parade (because of course Dallas would rain on Vancouver's parade) somewhat by finishing within spitting distance of Waston in the player vote (14.77%) and actually beating Waston with 21.82% of the club vote to Waston's 16.36%. I guess having your star players shut down by the imposing hulk that is the "Towering Tico" makes other clubs a bunch of little pouty-pants, though Hedges and Waston were still acres away from Ciman in the club votes, with the Belgian raking in 34.55% of the support from the league's front offices.

Mentioned in the award announcement article but well off the pace of the leaders is Matt Miazga of the New York Red Bulls, whose final score of 22.52 (about 32 points behind Hedges) I assume was mentioned to keep the "young American prospect!!!!!!" hype train going. Strong work there, MLSSoccer.com. Keep it up!

Initially, I was more than a little shocked to see Waston's numbers so low in the club votes. Has he really been that effective of a defender that no club would dare vote for him purely out of spite? The article claims Ciman, among other achievements such as "was in a World Cup", helped Montreal to second-best in the Eastern Conference in goals against (44). Incidentally, second-best in the East is still five goals more than Hedges & Co. in Dallas (39) and eight more than the Waston-led defense of Vancouver (36). Unsurprisingly, who's good but not "good" - you know, still exploitable, still able to score past them - appears to be the ideal "Defender of the Year" in the eyes of club votes.

You could point, perhaps, to Waston's reputation costing him. Waston was no stranger to the MLS Disciplinary Committee (DisCo), earning their ire on multiple occasions. Ciman was no angel, though, having picked up three red cards to Waston's one. Ciman was also involved in a dispute with Montreal brass over a perceived slight regarding the care of his daughter - said care being one of, if not the reason Ciman made the move from Standard Liege in Belgium. Apparently, a public airing of grievances was far less severe a deterrent to club voters than diving.

At the end of the day, "Defender of the Year" is an award for people who like awards; specifically, the media, pundits and supporters who like to fervently debate who should win what or who is deserving of this, that and the other thing. (Case in point: this article, precipitated by an e-mail from Jon who asked, "Kendall lost - can we get something on the site?") As we've been told time again by the Big Book of Sports Clichés™, the only awards that matter are the ones an entire team can hoist above their heads. If you don't care about "Defender of the Year", bully for you. If you do care, my condolences.

Just try not to lose your mind when David Ousted and Carl Robinson miss out on their awards, too.