The Earthquakes’ improbable win on Saturday against Toronto FC had many stars. Goal-scorers Quincy Amarikwa and Simon Dawkins along with keeper David Bingham (4 saves) all had spectacular showings, but the true star of the night was the defense, lead by Víctor Bernardez. Holding the high-powered Canadian offense to one goal is impressive in itself. However, the fact that the Quakes played the final 35 minutes with just nine men on the field makes that task nearly impossible.
After suffering their second red card, the Quakes were forced to defend a Toronto team that held possession for 62.3% of the game, got off 22 shots, and had 204 more successful passes than the Quakes. The defense held reigning league MVP Sebastian Giovinco goalless and only 2 of his 10 shots were on target. Bernardez is the unquestioned leader of the rugged Quakes backline. The tough Honduran had an outstanding game Saturday when the team needed him most. His statline included 5 tackles, 3 blocked shots, and 5 defensive clearances. This includes a chance in the 88th minute where Bernárdez blocked a potential equalizer on the goal-line and proceeded to clear the ball to safety.
Quakes fans were not the only ones to notice Victor’s outstanding performance, as MLS named him to this week’s Team of the Week. He showed his true class when the game looked as good as lost, and was largely responsible for a possible season-altering win. Congrats, Muma - you earned it!