Camilo, the club’s 2011 Player of the Year, was the difference maker, scoring a cracking left-footed goal in the 11th minute to give the ‘Caps their third win of the season.
It was the Brazilian’s first start of April, after battling a quadriceps issue which had restricted him to two substitute appearances in the three matches since his injury.
“I have chances – today I had one chance before [the goal],” Camilo told The 11 following the match, referencing a good chance he had just four minutes in. “After, Lee [Young-Pyo] gave me the pass, and I dribbled and scored. This is good for us.”
Good for the Whitecaps indeed. The victory helped Vancouver put an end to a four-game winless run in which it had lost its last two matches. Over those two games the ‘Caps conceded six goals, a big contrast to the clean sheet the defence kept in this match.
“Tonight we asked for character,” defender Jay DeMerit said. “Character to bounce back and to rectify the performances that we have had the past couple of games, and I think we did that tonight. We showed good character to get behind the ball and just do the hard work.
“That’s been our key to success all year and that’ll continue to be the key to success all season. When 11 of us, and the subs, do that throughout the whole 90 minutes, nine times of 10 we get a good result, and tonight was no different.”
The physicality of the match led Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman to characterize Vancouver’s play as “too physical.”
“I think they’re a much better team, but I don’t like the way they play,” Hyndman told reporters after the match. “I think they’re still very physical.”
Hyndman went on to reference the ankle injury suffered by David Ferreira against Vancouver last year, as then Whitecaps defender Jonathan Leathers slid in against the Colombian near the corner flag. No foul was called and no retroactive punishment was handed down from MLS to Leathers.
“If you remember last year, almost to the date, the MVP of the league is taken out here [in Vancouver],” Hyndman said. “And, he’s still not on the field.”
Injury problems also played a role for Dallas in this match, as goalkeeper Kevin Hartman was withdrawn from the starting lineup shortly before kickoff after experiencing back spasms, meaning Chris Seitz was called upon.
Not that he was at fault for Camilo’s curling game-winner, which would have challenged any keeper in Major League Soccer.
The Brazilian played as an out-and-out striker through the middle for the first time under head coach Martin Rennie after generally being used as a winger or withdrawn forward, and didn’t disappoint.
Bringing Camilo in meant Eric Hassli, after failing to score in his last 15 matches, was dropped to the bench. It was part of four changes to the starting lineup Rennie made after Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Sporting KC.
“You’re always looking at how you’re going to get this to work, how you’re going to get Camilo near the goal as much as you can,” Rennie said. “Camilo coming back from injury, I didn’t think it was wise to play him wide because they attack out of their fullbacks so much and he would have to do so much defensive work, so I got him near the goal and I wanted to add another midfielder – so when you add all those things up, that’s all we could come up with.”
The win brings Vancouver to 3-2-2 on the season, and it’s in action again next weekend on the road against the Columbus Crew.
Martin MacMahon is a Vancouver-based soccer writer. Follow him on Twitter: @martinmacmahon