VANCOUVER, B.C. – Camilo is back.
Following the transfer of Davide Chiumiento to FC Zürich in mid-July, the 24-year-old Brazilian attacker got his starting spot back on the left wing.
In Saturday’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake, he didn’t quite win back his team Player of the Year title he earned last season, but he showed, perhaps for the first time this season, that he can still play at that level.
Head coach Martin Rennie said following the match that Camilo’s pedigree factored into his willingness to let Chiumiento move on.
“Davide was playing well, but I think Camilo has more of a goal threat,” Rennie said. “We just felt that he has to be on the field in order to score goals. But, at the same time, you have to perform well and have confidence. I feel like he’s had a lift and grown in confidence because he’s known he’s more likely to be out there [since Chiumiento’s departure].”
GOAL: Camilo breaks the deadlock
That confidence was in full display Saturday, as Camilo scored his first goal since May 19 then added an assist on Dane Richards’ game-winner.
The diminutive attacker also forced Nick Rimando into several sprawling saves. The best of the bunch came 14 minutes in as Camilo’s swerving effort forced the RSL vet to parry away awkwardly for a corner.
In the dying moments of the first half, Camilo came close again, getting on the end of a Barry Robson cross only to see Rimando react well to save from a dangerous position.
“It’s just been coming in the last few games,” Rennie said of Camilo’s resurgence. “You could see it, his confidence is coming back. I think today it was a goal and an assist – an excellent performance defensively, as well as when we had the ball. He looked very dangerous in the second half and I was really pleased for him get another goal.
“He’s a great finisher and he works on it extra after training almost every day, so [I’m] really pleased for him.”
Club captain Jay DeMerit will be unavailable for selection against FC Dallas on Wednesday as he goes through the league concussion protocol after his 30th-minute collision with Brad Knighton on Saturday.
The Green Bay, Wisc., native sat in the stands at BC Place during Monday’s training session, dressed in plain clothes, and did not participate.
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.