As Vancouver Whitecaps FC prepare for their first Cascadia cup meeting of the season this Saturday when they host rival Seattle Sounders FC much of the talk continues to surround the potential return of a controversial former fan favorite. Reports surfaced earlier this month that Brazilian forward Camilo would welcome a return to the Whitecaps after spurning the team and a valid contract in January for what he thought would be greener pastures with top flight Mexican club Queretaro. Camilo received the raise he was looking for when he initially jumped ship but Queretera reportedly started having trouble paying it’s players in late February while the Mexican government also seized the team with the owner being investigated for fraud.
Camilo’s return is far from a guarantee but it certainly is a possibility with both sides interested in what the other can provide. Camilo and his wife have a young child and after the disappointing experience down south is surely seeking a stable environment. While Whitecaps FC has made it clear they’re looking to acquire a pure goal scorer in the upcoming transfer window, which opens July 9th. Everyone is aware of how hard it is to unearth a pure goal scorer and the Whitecaps would take comfort in knowing Camilo’s proven MLS pedigree having earned the golden boot award last season for leading the league in goals scored with 22. Some critics will have a good case to argue or question Camilo’s character or lack there of, having already gone through a couple of contract disputes with the club, the second of which led him to bolt the team in January. The Caps know Camilo would be worth three to four times as much as the near $250, 000 he earned last season and would have the wherewithal to pay him having a designated player spot available with the recent departure of pricey Scottish international striker Kenny Miller who was earning just north of $1 million.
Another factor adding fuel to the fire is the strong relationship that exists between Camilo and Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson. Camilo was always very quick to give lots of credit to Robinson for helping him achieve last years breakthrough season. Some fans will obviously scoff at the idea of bringing back a player that essentially turned his back on the club and the city but perhaps surprisingly the overall initial reaction to the possibility of a return has been somewhat encouraging. Most of all Camilo’s former teammates seemed to be onside with the idea while at least not publicly expressing any issues at a return. Veterans Andy O’Brien, Nigel Reo-Coker along with goalkeeper David Ousted all indicated that Camilo would be generally welcomed back to the squad when asked following Tuesday’s training session at UBC. Keeping in mind all three players are taking into account the player’s side of negotiating for fair market value.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC were able to secure their first trophy in MLS play last year as 2013 Cascadia Cup champions, winning the three-team tournament that also includes Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle and Portland. They’ll try and defend the title this season but it won’t be easy beginning this Saturday when they host a Sounders FC team that always seems to be near or at the top of the table. This season is no different as Seattle comes to town occupying first place in the Western Conference on the strength of 25 points through 12 games played (8W-3L-1D). The Caps sit nine points back of Seattle but have two games in hand, currently sitting in fourth spot out West with 16 points through 10 games played. The Whitecaps come in feeling pretty good about their game, having gone unbeaten in their last four MLS contests and winning two straight games.
Kickoff this Saturday afternoon goes just after 4 o’clock from BC Place.