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Camilo earns All-Star game spot and MLS Player of the Week

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The Canadian Press
7/15/2013 5:07:56 PM
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VANCOUVER -- The good times kept rolling Monday for Camilo and the rest of the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Camilo was named to the MLS All-Star team that will meet Italy's AS Roma on July 31 in Kansas City. The 24-year-old Brazilian striker earned his first MLS all-star game selection.

Peter Vermes, the MLS all-star squad's coach, chose Camilo, who struggled to get into Vancouver's lineup earlier this season, among players who rounded out the roster after fan voting.

Camilo refused to take sole credit for his selection.

"It's very important, but not just for me," said Camilo after a practice at the University of British Columbia on Monday. "It just means the club is playing very well. The team is playing good soccer, and it's very important."

Camilo, who is in his third season with the Whitecaps and leads the league in scoring with 12 goals, was also named MLS player of the week for the second time this season. The honours came a day after he scored two goals in Vancouver's 3-1 victory over the Chicago Fire.

He has scored nine goals in his past seven games and helped the Whitecaps move from also-ran status into third place in the Western Conference. The Whitecaps are also the only MLS club that is unbeaten at home, sporting a 7-0-3 mark at B.C. Place Stadium.

Camilo said he has been able to shine because the Whitecaps have placed more emphasis on the attack in recent weeks.

"That's why we score a lot of goals, because we are more free, we attack more (and) we have more chances," he said.

Vancouver players have earned player-of-the-week honours in four of the past five weeks. Coach Martin Rennie said Camilo is just one of many Whitecaps who are excelling these days.

"We've got a lot of players in good form," said Rennie. "But, certainly, Camilo's in great goal-scoring form at the moment."

Rennie attributed Camilo's success to better fitness after he was hampered by a thigh injury much of last season, a more defined role, and opportunities to play with fellow striker Kenny Miller upon his return from injury.

"(Camilo) has rewarded us all with his performances and his goals," said Rennie. "When players are scoring (consistently), that makes such a difference to the team."

Camilo has now surpassed the career-high 10 goals he scored as a rookie in 2011 and the seven markers he produced in 2012.

Goalkeeper Brad Knighton called Camilo's all-star game selection "fantastic, not only for him but for the club." He suggested Camilo would have received a major snub if he had not been chosen.

"The leading goal-scorer in the league, obviously, he deserves to be there. ... He's been tremendous for us," said Knighton. "He's been a huge catalyst to where we are right now."

Meanwhile, Knighton apologized to teammates and fans for angrily leaving the pitch quickly Sunday after the Whitecaps surrendered a goal in the dying seconds of their win over Chicago.

"It's frustrating for me, because you obviously want clean sheets, but wins are more important than clean sheets," said Knighton.

"I want to apologize to our guys for storming off and leaving them on the field, and apologize to our fans because, obviously, we have a reputation. Our fans are our biggest supporters, and our organization is trying to be one of the best in the world, and to have stuff like that going on, it's not good."

Knighton vowed that such antics would never happen again. Rennie said it was good for him to take responsibility for his actions, but understood his frustration, adding no goalkeeper should be happy allowing a goal.

Heading into next Saturday's game in Los Angeles, the Whitecaps are 7-0-3 in their past 10 games. Some players will spend this week attempting to get back in the lineup as they battle health woes.

Midfielder Russell Teibert, who was forced to return early from international duty with Canada's Gold Cup squad early after coming down with an illness, took part in Monday's practice, which was optional for players who toiled against Chicago.

Teibert went to hospital for tests, but did not stay over night, while with the Canadian team in Seattle. The 20-year-old Niagara Falls, Ont., native was sniffling after the workout with the Caps, but expected to be able to play against the Galaxy.

"I'm still a little bit sick, obviously, but I turned the corner," said Teibert. "I'm getting better day by day."

Note--Rennie said he hopes injured central defender Andy O'Brien (hamstring) can resume full training this week. The coach did not rule him out of the game against the Galaxy. O'Brien went through rehabilitation on the pitch Monday. ... Miller and Knighton were the other Whitecaps who have taken home MLS player of the week awards.

Camilo (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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