Whitecaps' Camilo showing hints of a return to form

BURNABY, B.C. – Between injuries and a dip in form, 2012 has not been the ideal follow up for Camilo’s team Player of the Year season in 2011.

Thankfully, for both the Vancouver Whitecaps and Camilo himself, it looks as if things are starting to turn around.

The Brazilian has claimed the left wing role as his own in recent weeks, following the departure of Davide Chiumiento – who regularly played there – to FC Zurich. Camilo’s three starts in his last four games equal his total starts over May and June, and he played a key role in his side’s recent 2-1 victory over MLS frontrunners San Jose by drawing the match-winning penalty.

“It’s like having a new player,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie told MLSsoccer.com after a training session on Wednesday at Swangard Stadium. “I feel like he’s back to his best. He looks confident, he looks strong, his finishing is good. We’re just really excited that he’s back with the group.

“Hopefully he can stay clear of those little injuries because I think that’s all that’s held him back this season.”

WATCH: Camilo wins PK for Vancouver

The main injury that has hampered Camilo is a recurring quad problem – one he hopes is now behind him permanently.

“The first time I was injured, I came back, and was injured again,” Camilo said. “This is the problem – I lost the confidence and was scared to shoot, and the most important thing for me is to shoot because I think I shoot very well. But the physiotherapist guys worked very hard for me and now I am very confident.”

When asked to describe what Camilo offers that Chiumiento doesn’t in that position, Rennie’s answer was simple: “Goal threat.”

The stats back that up – Camilo averages about a goal ever three starts; an impressive tally considering he’s often played more as a wide attacker rather than an out-and-out forward.

While newcomer Dane Richards is described as a true winger who likes to hug the touchline and move forward with pace on the right flank, Camilo offers something slightly different on the left side.

“He definitely gives us that width,” Rennie said of Camilo. “But he’s also able to come inside and cause a different problem. Because with Dane stretching teams you also want people to come in underneath into the spaces that gives you. Camilo can do that from a wide area and does that well.”

Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.