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Caps Corner: Is Camilo the Whitecaps' missing piece?

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Peter Schaad
5/15/2014 9:02:52 PM
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Despite their speed, skill and creativity, there is something missing from the Whitecaps and it was plainly evident both Saturday at Columbus and Wednesday night versus Toronto.

They're missing the knockout punch.

Coach Carl Robinson indicated a few weeks ago that if he's looking to add to the squad, a pure finisher is top of his list.  Someone who can score with both feet, his head, from a dead ball, open play.  Beautiful goals, ugly goals - the Caps need a bona fide poacher to mix in with an already potent and dynamic group.   

Someone like, oh, I don't know - Camilo?

Many supporters and even media types will not forgive, but I'm willing to wager that eventually they would forget after the first spectacular game-winning goal.  If Liverpool's Luis Suarez taught us anything, it's how quickly things can change in the court of public opinion.

Something unexpected happened since the brilliant Brazilian walked away from Vancouver.  The team didn't fall to pieces like many thought it would. In fact, overall it's actually a better, more balanced side than the one he led in scoring last season.  Kenny Miller chipped in, Darren Mattocks found his finishing touch while also becoming a provider, while Kekuta Manneh carried on where he left off last year. 

The Whitecaps have also found some goals and chances from the midfield for the first time in their MLS era thanks to Pedro Morales. Even Erik Hurtado, who seemed to have the touch of a blacksmith, has found his goal scoring mojo of late while adding clever movements to his very unique and powerful skill set.

There are two facts we can't ignore about Camilo's turbulent tenure in Mexico. He desperately wants to come back and the Whitecaps would love to have his Golden Boot-winning abilities.

Carl Robinson always had a great relationship with the 25-year-old and has remained in touch to this day. 

The path back to Vancouver for Camilo would be a murky ambiguous, not to mention unprecedented one.  There has been all kinds of speculation as to how Vancouver might reacquire the diminutive marksman in the event his troubled Mexican club had its hand forced.  You'd think MLS would want to assist Vancouver in that process after the PR nightmare for both club and league back in January.

Whether the Whitecaps could bring him back with his team of handlers is another question.  His chief advisor and close friend orchestrated a move that did not serve his client's best interests. But is that enough for Camilo to end their long association?  I'm sure the Whitecaps would prefer to deal with agents they trust. 

One also has to wonder whether Camilo could justify a DP slot and the corresponding salary, especially in the wake of Kenny Miller's departure.  It might have been the 34-year-old Scotsman's DP distinction, salary and relative production output that led to the Brazilian's departure in the first place.  Camilo had plenty of statistical leverage to justify a substantial pay raise.

The Whitecaps added threat with a Camilo-like player wouldn't just come from the goals he bags, but also the attention he would take away from some of the other aforementioned threats.  In a league with so much parity, a goal here or a free kick there could mean the difference between several rungs of the Western Conference ladder.
 
In the meantime, the Whitecaps will watch and wait with a number 9 jersey available. Whether League MX and the Mexican government deliver their own knockout punch to the rogue club from Queretaro remains to be seen.

Camilo (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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