I’m pulling for Camilo in Houston

March 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 3 Comments

While I am delighted with the first two games of the season and with the way the Whitecaps have played so far, the one worry I have is with the way in which we are using (or in the case of Camilo, not using) our strikers. While the rest of the team is playing well, especially in midfield, last years star performers in terms of goals and points seem to have disappeared from sight. Midfielders have scored two of our three goals this year and the one striker’s goal we have scored was a poached effort by Kenny Miller rather than our team putting a striker through with a pass or a cross to finish.

Since the beginning of the Major League Soccer era no one has scored more points for the Vancouver Whitecaps than Camilo Sanvezzo, the diminutive Brazilian who plays like a man twice his size. He has scored 17 goals and added 10 assists in his time here. In the 2011 season he came on as an anonymous sub late on in the first two matches, before setting the town on fire with two goals and an assist in the Whitecaps spectacular comeback from a 0-3 deficit against Kansas City (still the finest match of the Whitecaps’ MLS era).

Time to shine, Camilo!

Time to shine, Camilo!

Camilo plays without fear, can dribble, pass, take free kicks and corners, score on headers, and has a fearsome shot. So why is he not playing?

One reason is that Kenny Miller has rehabilitated himself in pre-season training and in the Whitecaps first two matches, showing speed, determination and a work rate unmatched by any other Whitecap. Miller has been seen on several occasions tracking back one hundred metres or so chasing after the opposing team’s wingers who are ten years younger than him. Of course it helps that he is from the same country as his coach, who loves to see that kind of effort.

There is a clear culture clash between Camilo Sanvezzo the individualist and Martin Rennie the collectivist. The Brazilians and the Scots have always gotten along well as fans supporting their teams in the World Cup, but their approach to the game could not be more different. The Brazilians look for individual magic, the Scots for selfless team effort. Miller is providing the latter and does not have the skill to provide the former, whereas Camilo is not getting the time on the pitch to allow his magic to reveal itself.

During the 2012 season, Camilo’s apparent selfishness frustrated many of us and Rennie too, but the fact is, absent certain times when he clicked with Mattock’s speed, Camilo had no one to play with. The truth is selfishness, (or call it self confidence), is a key attribute of a good goal scorer, which Rennie should recognize. So far this year Camilo has had precious little to do other than sulk (another thing the Scots don’t appreciate!).

I would still prefer to see Camilo play over Miller because I like to see magic on the pitch. That is what I pay my season ticket to see. While I admire the hard work of Miller, I can go watch someone digging a ditch if I want to see hard work.

We are not going to see much magic from Miller at all, who will be off on international duty for tomorrow’s match in Houston. Now is Camilo’s time to shine in Miller’s absence.

Tomorrow is Camilo’s opportunity to show Rennie he can play for the team and also provide some goals for the Whitecaps. He will likely have few opportunities because Rennie will play cautious on the road. The team will also have some rust having sat around for the last two weeks without a real match.

For what he has brought to the team and for what he can bring to it in the future, I hope Camilo plays a blinder tomorrow. It could be a turning point for his career in Vancouver, which looks to be coming to an end soon unless he can turn it around.


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  1. Leaving your top scorer on the bench seems silly and is annoying to those of us who like to see the team do well…

  2. I agree that it is the magic moments that brings fans to their feet but I fear that, as you suggest has happened with Martin Rennie, I have had quite enough of watching Camilo wastefully surrender possession by dribbling the ball into untenable situations and clumps of defenders whilst wasting the efforts of team-mates who have worked themselves into position to advance the ball or threaten the opposition’s goal. I like the energy and creativity that Camilo brings on the whole and hope that he can add the element of awareness of his team-mates to his exciting game. Till that happens I see him as an effective contributor off the bench but I will look for someone with a more well-rounded contribution in the starting eleven.

  3. this is only conjecture but Martin Rennie has publicly come out against players who dive. perhaps this has something to do with why Camilo isn’t playing?

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