When the Whitecaps bring in a striker, it's something to celebrate. An actual, bona fide striker, a guy who's played in a legitimate professional league and scored goals. A guy who's drawn interests from fairly well-off clubs, a guy who's still only twenty-two years old, and best of all a guy who's from Brazil (so he has to be good).
His name is Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo, and he is a forward on trial with the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Most of Camilo (as he is called)'s experience comes in the Maltese Premier League, where he played a season with mid-table club Qormi F.C. I made a joke on Twitter about the Maltese Premier League's most accomplished export being Carolina Railhawks star scorer but was soon set straight: it turns out a number of players I've at least heard of have come to Malta for one last payday or because they couldn't catch on anywhere else. A couple decent players who've played for real teams got their start in the Maltese Premier League. At the same time, Malta is only ranked the 48th-best in UEFA. They're just below Armenia and just above Northern Ireland. One of those isn't even a country!
With that said, Camilo's scoring record in Malta speaks for itself. In 22 appearances with Qormi, Camilo scored 24 times. If you're playing against professionals that's ridiculous in any league. It actually caught Camilo a big move upwards to Gyeongnam of the Korean K-League where he played seven games and achieved pretty much nothing. Camilo was cut loose and went to Canada, going on trial with... Toronto FC.
And now he's here. Being rejected as a trialist with Toronto FC isn't exactly a good sign, as the FC aren't known for their scoring punch. But, then again, the FC have a weird history with trialists lately, between cutting lose Andrew Ornoch after promising him a contract and the developing Bas Ent debacle. We should judge Camilo not on his failure in Toronto but on his own merits.
Unfortunately, we don't have much to go by yet.
I'm tentatively (very tentatively) enthusiastic about Camilo. He ticks a lot of the boxes in what I'm looking for in a striker. He's an undersized guy with good finishing instincts, which if nothing else would form a nice contrast with Atiba Harris and allow Cornelius Stewart or Nizar Khalfan to move back to their more comfortable midfield positions. He's proven he knows where the goal is, even if he hasn't proven he can beat MLS-calibre defenses. At 22 years old, though, he has a season or two to learn. It might not be worth giving him an international spot, but Camilo is at least worth a look. If his athleticism is up to snuff and his finishing is as good as the numbers make it appear, maybe the Whitecaps take a flyer on him.
Camilo's poor performance in South Korea is a minus, of course. He had been linked with a number of clubs, including Hertha Berlin, but signed with Gyeongnam without even the courtesy of going on trial. In seven appearances, mostly as a substitute, he showed very little and was unceremoniously cut loose. It's not a good sign. Then again, the K-League is a very good league; better than MLS quality at least. Though I've seen very little of it, they say it can be very technically demanding, which you think would play to the strengths of a 5'7" Brazilian. But, at the same time, Camilo would hardly be the first good player to fail in his first crack at an entirely different soccer culture.
And I can't get past Camilo's Maltese strike rate. 24 goals in 22 appearances! The famous Michael Mifsud's career strike rate in Malta was 0.75 goals per match, and he's even smaller than Camilo is. The kid's twenty-two years old and he's shown he has a nose for the goal. Of course the Whitecaps should trial him! Frankly, I'd be pretty excited to see him stick around.