Rise to stardom: Top 3 Camilo moments
When approached by Vancouver Whitecaps FC back in 2011, Camilo never imagined he’d be a Major League Soccer All-Star just a few years later.
In fact, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
At the time, the native of Presidente Prudente, Brazil didn’t know much about the league – or the club. But Camilo saw an opportunity, and he made the most of it.
The diminutive Brazilian will join the likes of Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane on Wednesday evening when the MLS All-Stars meet AS Roma at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
The all-time Whitecaps FC MLS scoring leader was named to the 2013 MLS All-Star gameday roster after a sensational first half of the season, in which he has scored a league-leading 13 goals and twice been named MLS Player of the Week.
“Always, I work very hard,” Camilo told whitecapsfc.com. “When I get [the] opportunity to play, I do my best.”
Over two-and-a-half seasons in Vancouver, Camilo has brought his best more often than not. The 5-foot-7 striker has scored 30 goals and started 64 of his 80 appearances for the Blue and White. Suffice to say, he has become a fan-favourite, and the feeling is mutual.
"I love when we play here in BC," added the rising star. "I love the fans, I love the city. I can go around the place to Stanley Park around Vancouver with my wife. It’s a beautiful city and I love it here."
So in honour of his All-Star appearance tomorrow, here are three of Camilo's more memorable moments with the club:
1. A flying start
The comeback highlights
Camilo’s first start as a member of Whitecaps FC was one to remember. The flashy Brazilian etched his name into the club and league record books with a sensational brace in a 3-3 draw with Sporting Kansas City on April 2, 2011 at Empire Field.
Down 3-1 in the dying stages of the match, Camilo became the first MLS player to score two goals in stoppage time as the Blue and White battled back to secure an improbable draw.
“This was my best moment here,” he reminisced.
If that wasn’t enough, he added an assist on Vancouver’s first goal of the match. The striker’s late-game heroics earned him recognition as the Budweiser Man of the Match and MLS Player of the Week.
2. Into the record books
Camilo scores club's 100th MLS goal
A day before being named to the 2013 MLS All-Star gameday roster, Camilo jumped into the MLS Golden Boot lead with his 11th and 12th goals of the season on July 14, 2013 at BC Place.
The striker’s brace helped the ‘Caps extend their record six-match unbeaten streak with a 3-1 win over Chicago Fire. Fittingly, the Brazilian’s opener was the club’s 100th MLS goal.
“It’s very important,” said Camilo on the historic tally. “You’re going to make history on the club. It was very, very nice to score the 100th goal. I think if we make more history and win a championship here, win the Cascadia Cup, or even the MLS Cup it’s going to be more important.”
His dominant performance earned him MLS Player of the Week honours for the second time this season, and third time in his career.
3. Practice makes perfect
Free kick goal versus Sporting KC
Over the past three seasons, Camilo has emerged into one of the league’s premier free kick specialists.
Most recently, he helped the ‘Caps claim a 1-1 draw against Sporting Kansas City on July 3, 2013 with an inch-perfect bending strike from 20 yards out. It’s a sight that has become something of a regular occurrence for Whitecaps FC supporters as of late.
The savvy striker has picked his spots, so to speak, on timely occasions, such as a recent Cascadia tilt with rival Portland Timbers or the second leg of the Amway Canadian Championship final in 2013 and the Nutrilite Canadian Championship final in 2011.
Camilo said he’s always been comfortable taking free kicks, but this year he’s focused on mastering the craft.
“I think this year I work more hard to practice,” he said. “I think when you have more practice you have more chance to score.”
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Kickoff for the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game is set for 6:25 p.m. PT this coming Wednesday, July 31, at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The match will be shown live on TSN.