Can Camilo Sanvezzo manage to hold off the young guns to bounce back again in 2013? - Jeff Vinnick
The last time I wrote about a player who appeared to be lost in the shuffle, mere hours passed before he got on Twitter to air his grievances, and was dispensed with soon thereafter. It's with some trepidation, therefore, that I wonder about the latest Whitecap to feel some pressure.
Surrounded by superior talent last season, Long Tan sat for three months - watching as his opportunities eroded, and his playing time dwindled. It was that prolonged downward slide through the depth chart that prompted this piece. It's been, if you'll excuse the pun, a Long time since then.
Skip forward to 2013, take a look at the off-season roster upgrades, and the guy who may be on the outside looking in this year is Whitecaps striker Camilo Sanvezzo. The Brazilian showed very well in the early going of the current preseason, to be sure.
But in recent matches and associated media reportage, it's been the younger SuperDraft guns Kekuta Manneh and Erik Hurtado that have been collecting the accolades. Even Kenny Miller's been getting more attention lately. Maybe trading in his #37 for #7 wasn't such a great idea after all.
With the addition of Hurtado, 22, and Manneh, 18, Camilo, at only 24, becomes the "elder" statesman of the forwards out wide in Martin Rennie's beloved 4-2-3-1. But the biggest plus these two additions bring is pure, unadulterated speed. It's been suggested that Darren Mattocks is now the third-fastest Whitecap, which, if true, doesn't help Camilo, who has relied on quickness and agility more than pure speed - he's a jinker, not a jet.
There's still a role for Camilo to play for Vancouver, but it'll be one that demands he make better decisions on the ball. He's got all the tools to be useful attacker - if he can master the occasional urge to go it alone against improbable odds.
Camilo's coming off what was a bit of an off year, and it's going to become more difficult for him to see increased playing time if Manneh and Hurtado continue to impress and improve. That said, Camilo's a proven MLS quantity, while his younger counterparts haven't earned that distinction - yet.
Let's just hope Vancouver's #7 curse is now over. I'd hate to find out otherwise via Twitter.