Camilo's chance to shine
By Jon Szekeres
With the Whitecaps strong start to the 2013 season, some minor story-lines have been overlooked. For instance, Camilo, once the darling of the Whitecaps faithful, has yet to start a contest through two matches this season. The former double digit goal scorer in 2011 has made second half appearances for the 'Caps, registering no points so far. That's for a multitude of reasons really. Up front, Darren Mattocks needs to get his minutes, and Kenny Miller has been playing like a phoenix rising out of the ashes; he looks like a completely different player than before, easily the 'Caps most energetic player in the early going.
Usually, when the forward unit has been deep, Camilo would be bumped to an attacking mid role. However, the 'Caps signed some serious talent in the off-season in Daigo Kobayashi and Nigel Reo-Coker, so the mid has been a bit of a logjam.
Plus, he looks to have lost the confidence of Head Coach Martin Rennie. In the first match of the season, Rennie went with Miller, Mattocks and Kekutah Manneh up front, a surprising choice considering his age. Rennie had used an attacking lineup, yet he had left one of his best attackers on the bench. Pundits pointed to the fact that Reo-Coker didn't start either, coming on in second half relief. That's true, except that Reo-Coker started the next match, while Camilo was still relegated to second half duty.
Now, I may just be reading into things here, I totally understand that. Rennie likes to have second half options so he can change the match coming out of the break; that's essentially what Eric Hassli was used for in 2012. That being said, how did that work out for Hassli? I'm pretty sure he was gone before long.
Now, the next match against the Houston Dynamo will be a different story. Kenny Miller will be lost due to international duty, and that would leave Camilo as the obvious choice to replace him. Just three matches into the season, it might be the most important contest yet for him. If he has a match like he had last season against Chivas USA (goal, two assists, was freaking brilliant), then Martin Rennie will have no choice but to play him more. If Camilo falters, then Rennie will have no choice but to look down his bench at the youth movement (Manneh, Hurtado), or even someone like Tom Heinemann, a big body that could be valuable for set pieces in front of the net.
This all might be a bit overblown, but it's a fair point worth asking. Will Camilo seize the opportunity? Or will he falter? We'll find out next weekend.