MONTREAL — You know Kendal Waston is in a good mood when he’s slapping teammates in the face.
“It’s part of the excitement of the game,” the Costa Rican told reporters Saturday after the Whitecaps came from behind to defeat the Montreal Impact 2-1 in front of a crowd of 19,597 at Stade Saputo. “In training I do it to them; they’re used to it. But it’s part of the chemistry that we have in the locker room, and sometimes in the games I get very excited and I do it.”
Midfielder Andrew Jacobson was on the end of the slap this time around, after his goal in the 33rd minute—a brilliant volley from outside the box after a cross was cleared away centrally by the Impact defense—put the Whitecaps level.
Waston was the first one to join in on the goal celebration, and Jacobson braced for impact.
“I had a feeling it was coming,” Jacobson said of the smack he received from his gregarious team captain.
Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) April 29, 2017
The win was the team’s first on the road this season after losing each of their first three attempts. And even with Montreal opening the scoring in the 9th minute, Vancouver had the better of the play for most of the game and was rewarded with the a late winning goal from Christian Techera in the 79th minute.
“Any points on the road is big,” coach Carl Robinson said. “We hadn’t picked up any points on the road prior to this game, but I think last week we played very well against a good Portland team in form, and we wanted to try and replicate that performance and I think we certainly did, especially in the first half, where I think some of our football was outstanding. Even when we went behind, we maintained our focus, then got back in the game and then got the winner, a little magic from Techera.”
A key contributor to the win was the Whitecaps' performance on the defensive side of the ball, especially by the way they dealt with the Impact’s most dangerous player, Ignacio Piatti. The Argentine midfielder, who has three goals and one assist in five games this season, wasn’t able to exert his usual influence on the match as Vancouver successfully limited his time on the ball in its own third of the field.
“Playing against those types of players is hard because he has a lot of quality, you never know what he’s going to do,” Waston said. “We were trying to close out the gaps and tried to not give him so much space in behind or to make him feel comfortable on the ball. I think that we did a great job.”
The Whitecaps also needed some help from goalkeeper David Ousted, who made several important saves and interventions in the second half when the Impact were looking for the go-ahead goal.
“He was quiet in the first half and they scored with their first shot really and we could have stopped it at the source, but in the second half you know the home team is going to put you under pressure and you need to make big saves and David certainly did that,” Robinson said. “We defend as a team, and attack as a team as well. David will get the credit making the key saves, but we got to talk about the defending, last ditch tackles, blocks, players putting their body on the line”.
Jacobson, who’s goal was his first this season, also emphasized the team’s group effort.
“It was a very good win in the way we did it,” he said. “We did it by playing aggressive and playing collectively.”