VANCOUVER, B.C. – After going goalless at home last weekend, the Vancouver Whitecaps are hoping that team-leading goalscorer Camilo can return to action for this Sunday's home match against Chivas USA at BC Place (7 pm ET, MLS Live) to help avoid a repeat of last Saturday's 1-0 defeat to the LA Galaxy.
The Brazilian, who is tied for second in MLS with 14 goals on the season, was a surprise omission from head coach Martin Rennie's starting lineup in that game.
Experiencing tightness in his groin from an injury picked up on the final kick of Vancouver's 2-0 away loss to the Colorado Rapids on August 17, Camilo was only fit enough for the bench – and ended up sitting out the match as an unused substitute.
The 25-year-old only trained lightly last week as a result of the injury, and this week his involvement has been similarly limited.
The groin injury is affecting primarily his right side – his shooting side – and both the player and his coach insist that if he's having issues striking the ball, he'll sit out again.
“It's hard to stay out,” Camilo said Wednesday after a training session at the University of British Columbia. “I want to play. But I know if I played I could stay out for the rest of the season. We decided to stay out one game [instead].”
While the player's involvement has been light this week, Rennie remains optimistic his star can play a part on Sunday.
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“It doesn't seem to be too major,” Rennie said. “On the weekend, he maybe could have played, but we just wanted to be careful about it. Now we're just ramping up – obviously it's quite a few days until Sunday – but I fully expect him to be available. But you never know.”
If Camilo isn't fit to play his striking role, that could mean a second consecutive start for Darren Mattocks. The Jamaican was quiet over the weekend in his first start in two months, failing to register a shot, but is still looking to work his way back to full capacity after his long absence..
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.