As we marched into the final regular season match of the year for the Vancouver Whitecaps, there were two main storylines Vancouver fans were keeping a close eye on. First off, the retirement of Y.P. Lee, the classy Whitecaps defender who quietly became one of the most celebrated players in team history. Then, in the background slightly, was Camilo and his chase for the Golden Boot. It appeared to be a fool's errand, considering he trailed both Marco Di Vaio of Montreal and Mike Magee of Chicago. Both had been firmly in front of Camilo for the majority of the season, and remained there for the 'Caps final match.
A week previous, Camilo had one of his worst matches of the season against the Colorado Rapids, as the 'Caps were eliminated from post-season contention. How ironic would it be then, that it would be Camilo scoring a hat trick against that very same team to snatch the Golden Boot, leaving Chicago Fire striker Mike Magee to wonder what the hell just happened.
Magee had been getting all the press as he chased the Golden Boot, and for good reason. First off, he's an American, which would be a nice 'get' for MLS as they continue to try and extol the virtues of American soccer. Secondly, he almost single-handedly willed a weak Chicago team into the post-season by scoring 21 goals, 16 more than his previous career high, if you can believe it. Beyond that, Magee appeared to be the only member of the Fire keen on scoring, considering the club only potted 47 goals all season. Before Camilo had his unbelievable match, Magee appeared to be the front runner; now that his team failed to make the post-season, and he failed to win the Boot, that race just became wide open again.
Next up is the ageless Marco Di Vaio, the Impact striker that came in third in goals scored this season. Despite not taking a penalty shot all season, Di Vaio racked up 20 goals for the playoff-bound Impact, 15 better than his first season with the Impact in 2012. Di Vaio should get serious consideration for the award because firstly, his team actually made the post-season, secondly, the dude is pushing 40 and he was the third-deadliest goal scorer this season, and third, he took no penalty shots all season long. I don't care what team you play for, that is damn impressive, and it makes him a very viable candidate to become the MLS MVP.
Then there's Camilo. His team didn't make the playoffs, he took plenty of penalty kicks, and yet, why shouldn't he win the MVP award? In terms of pure offense, there was nobody better than Camilo on the pitch this season, scoring 22 goals, most in ridiculous fashion. Who could forget his clever free kick goals, or his unbelievable scissor kick marker? Plus, when the chips were down and he needed to score to win the Golden Boot, he unleashed this beauty for the fans at BC Place.
Seriously, he absolutely undressed his defender with the nutmeg, then went in and calmly scored number 21, before adding another for his hat trick. While the 'Caps failed to make the post-season, that's by no fault of Camilo, who gave every ounce of what he had for the club this season, and should be recognized for it.
He was named player of the week three times during the season (which will, in all likelihood be 4 by today), which was the most in the league, and also led all players with 123 shots. He was the club's lone all-star, following Jay DeMerit from the season before.
He recorded six multi-goal matches, two of those coming in the final stretch of the regular season, as the 'Caps clawed for the post-season. In fact, he scored a ridiculous 8 goals in his final 5 matches, nearly single-handedly willing the 'Caps to the playoffs.
Essentially, you can make cases for pretty much anybody atop the statistical leaderboard. However, when the chips were down, Camilo scored the most goals, was a human highlight reel all season long, and deserves some league-wide recognition.