Camilo scored two spectacular goals to lead the Vancouver Whitecaps past the Chicago Fire 3–1 at BC Place on Sunday and into third place in the MLS Western Conference.
The diminutive Brazilian scored the 100th and 101st goals in Whitecaps history in the second half after a tense first half in which the visiting Fire had the better of the scoring chances. Camilo also passed Montreal’s Marco Di Vaio and Chicago’s Mike Magee for top spot in the MLS scoring race; he now has 12 goals on the season.
Vancouver extended its unbeaten streak to six games with five of the games being wins. The Whitecaps also passed the Montreal Impact in points (32–31) for most points by a Canadian MLS side currently.
The Fire are not known for their road performances having won only one game on hostile territory so far this year. Add to that the Whitecaps being the only MLS team unbeaten at home this year and it seemed like a routine three point for Vancouver.
But the Fire started brightly and forced Vancouver goalkeeper Brad Knighton to make two big saves in the first 10 minutes, the first one coming off a Magee shot and the second off a corner kick.
The Whitecaps didn’t create much in the first half, but the second half was a different story.
Just past the hour mark, Knighton booted a long ball downfield to Camilo who raced in on the Chicago goal. He turned defender Shaun Francis inside out before placing a right-footed shot in the far side of the net.
That goal seemed to take a weight off the shoulders of the Whitecaps who then started to play much more fluidly.
Camilo’s second goal was a demonstration of perseverance and patience. He beat the offside trap and raced in on Fire goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi. The Fire keeper did well to get a hand on the ball, which pushed Camilo out wide.
But the Brazilian gathered his composure and slotted the ball underneath Tornaghi and the mesmerized Fire defenders.
Substitute Kekuta Manneh put the result beyond doubt in the 84th minute as he showed some of his own perseverance. He momentarily lost the ball, regained it, created a bit of space for a shot, and then fired past Tornaghi.
The one blemish for the Whitecaps came in the stoppage time as Patrick Nyarko headed a Joel Lindpere ball home. The goal was a tough one to give up for the Whitecaps defense who had done a terrific job of blocking shots all game long and stymieing Magee.
Up next for the Whitecaps is a trip to Los Angeles to face the MLS Cup champion L.A. Galaxy next Saturday. But for now, they are full of confidence and will look to avenge their playoff loss to L.A. from last year.
Impact, TFC Crushed
It was a Saturday to forget for both Montreal Impact and Toronto FC as they both suffered their worst defeats of the season. On the road to Eastern Conference rivals New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City, the Impact and TFC fell 4–0 and 3–0 respectively.
The bigger disappointment has to be Montreal who is now winless in four games and continues to allow goals—12 in its last four games after having given up 17 in its first 14 games. The Impact have now relinquished first place in the East to Kansas City, although they still have two games in hand.
Against New York, Montreal was on the back foot from the opening. The Red Bulls were able to move freely in the Montreal half and were up two goals after 16 minutes of play.
French superstar Thierry Henry kept up his form of scoring against the Impact. He scored his seventh goal against Montreal by poking home a cross from Fabian Espindola. Italian defender Alessandro Nesta simply lost track of Henry and, overall, has looked tired and slow most recently.
The Impact’s best moments came early in the second half before Tim Cahill scored off a Henry corner kick.
“We should not panic,” Montreal coach Marco Schällibaum was quoted as saying in French on the www.impactmontreal.com website. “There are moments during the season that will be less easy. We are still in good position in the standings, but we have to find a way to win again.”
For TFC, the personnel moves kept coming. Just prior to the match against SKC, defender Darren O’Dea was flown back to Toronto to finalize transfer details away from the club. Earlier in the week, TFC’s fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft was traded to D.C. United for allocation money. Central defender Danny Califf also just announced his retirement.
SKC was simply too much for TFC with Steven Caldwell as captain, although the Reds put up a better fight than did the Impact against the Red Bulls.
Reds forward Jeremy Brockie had two great early chances, but was stopped both times by Jimmy Nielsen in the SKC goal. And shortly after that, the Soony Saad show began with the 21-year-old blasting a low shot inside the near post past Joe Bendik.
Saad scored his second of the game early in the second half before Claudio Bieler added a third in a clever display of one-touch passing.
Reggie Lambe received a straight red card for a lunging foul on Saad. Fortunately, no serious contact was made, otherwise Saad could have had his leg broken.
Both the Impact and TFC are winless in their last four games. Montreal is very much in the heat of the battle for top spot in the Eastern Conference, while Toronto is going through another mid-season rebuild.
Follow Rahul on Twitter @RV_ETSports