Kendall Waston's last-gasp equalizer sends Costa Rica to 2018 World Cup

Kendall Waston - high fives during a Costa Rica game

Costa Rica salvaged a result very late at home on Saturday to qualify for the World Cup, and it was the Vancouver Whitecaps' Kendall Waston came through in the clutch for them.

New York City FC winger Rodney Wallace played a key role in the build-up before Bryan Ruiz found Waston for the 95th-minute equalizer, and that gave Costa Rica a 1-1 draw against Honduras that punched Los Ticos' ticket to Russia 2018. The Costa Ricans were on the brink of losing at Estadio Nacional in San Jose after Eddie Hernandez finished off a ball from Houston Dynamo forward Romell Quioto in the 66th minute, but Wallace unleashed an inch-perfect cross from the right that Waston soared into the air and nodded home with authority near the death to ignite scenes of ecstasy.

With the result, Costa Rica are guaranteed to finish in second place in the final round of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying. They currently have 16 points, five less than table-topping Mexico and four more than the third-placed US national team going into the final round of matches next Tuesday. Costa Rica closes out the qualifying campaign with a road fixture against Panama.

Fifth-placed Honduras, meanwhile, host Mexico next week in need of a result and outside help.


COSTA RICA: Keylor Navas; Cristian Gamboa, Giancarlo Gonzalez, Johnny Acosta (79', Rodney Wallace), Kendall Waston, Bryan Oviedo; Bryan Ruiz, Celso Borges, David Guzman, Christian Bolaños (72', Daniel Colindres); Marco Ureña (72', Johan Venegas).

HONDURAS: Donis Escober; Brayan Beckeles, Johnny Palacios, Maynor Figueroa, Emilio Izaguirre; Bryan Acosta, Alfredo Mejia, Alberth Elis (90', Rubilio Castillo), Alexander Lopez (83', Sergio Peña), Romell Quioto; Eddie Hernandez.