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Close, but no cigar: Waston finishes 3rd in DotY voting

Vancouver Whitecaps Kendall Waston finishes third in 2017 MLS Defender of the Year voting

Kendall Waston Celebrates Derby Win with Teammate Tim Parker
Bob Frid/Whitecaps FC

Major League Soccer announced Ike Opara as the 2017 Defender of the Year, accruing an average of 28.53% of the vote. Vancouver Whitecaps only year-end award finalist Kendall Waston finished third, two percentage points behind runner-up Justin Morrow.

2017 Defender of the Year Voting

Defender Player Vote % Media Vote % Club Vote % Average %
Defender Player Vote % Media Vote % Club Vote % Average %
Ike Opara 31.42% 39.88% 14.29% 28.53%
Justin Morrow 13.79% 15.77% 11.90% 13.82%
Kendall Waston 10.73% 9.23% 15.48% 11.81%

As we outlined last week, it was a very successful season for the Whitecaps captain, who rebounded after a disappointing 2016 campaign. You may recall that many were questioning Carl Robinson’s decision to make him Captain this year, and even whether Waston had a long-term place on this team.

Bob Frid/Whitecaps FC

There were many questioned raised about Waston’s discipline last season as he picked up several red cards, including one against Portland’s Dairon Asprilla, in which he tackled the forward after the final whistle and almost out of bounds. What was most frustrating about this was Waston’s reaction after the match. He seemed to feel he did nothing wrong. This mentality was routine last season and led to some, including myself, questioning whether he was the right person to lead the Caps forward.

The naming of Waston as team captain seemed to have the right effect, as he returned to being a dominant force this season while remaining disciplined and calm on the field. He showed people like myself that he could and should lead the team.

It was nice to see him rewarded for his strong play this season with his second DotY nomination in three years. Congrats to our Towering Tico!