VANCOUVER, BC – After going goalless at home last weekend, Vancouver Whitecaps FC are hoping that team-leading goalscorer Camilo can return to action for this Sunday's home match against Chivas USA at BC Place 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 Tuesday 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.
“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 Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.