Whitecaps’ new deal for Camilo is a calculated gamble By Steven Sandor Posted on February 1, 2012 0 0 473 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter TFC keeper Stefan Frei stretches to get to shot from Camilo. PHOTO: PAUL GIAMOU/CANADA SOCCER The Vancouver Whitecaps announced Wednesday that the club has signed forward Camilo to a new deal, eradicating his old contract. Because of MLS rules, we won’t find out exactly what the new salary/cap hit is until the MLS Players’ Union releases an updated wage list. But, we can assume Camilo was given a raise — otherwise, why sign a new deal to replace the old one? Make no mistake, even though Camilo scored 12 times last year, this is a calculated gamble being taken by Vancouver Whitecaps’ coach Martin Rennie. Yes, Rennie: It is clear that the Whitecaps are in the same boat as when Preki took over Toronto FC. The coach is also the de facto GM, in charge of all player moves. “We’re delighted to agree to new contract terms with Camilo,” said Rennie in a release issued by the club. “He had an outstanding first season with us and will be an important part of our squad for years to come. Camilo can play up front as a striker or as a wide attacking midfielder. He’s got plenty of pace and skill, plus a real nose for goal. He’s also a big threat on set-pieces in and around the opposition’s penalty box.” With Camilo, Eric Hassli and Sebastien Le Toux, who the Whitecaps’ acquired on Tuesday in a deal with Philadelphia, the Whitecaps’ front line can boast a 33 combined goals — based on 2011 performances. To put that in perspective, Vancouver, as a team scored 35 goals all of last season. So, why is it fair to claim that Rennie’s taking a major risk in giving Camilo an improved contract? Well, Camilo has had two standout seasons in his career. One came in Malta. The other came last year in MLS. Anyone who has spent time watching this league can’t begin to name all the players who had one great season, then never returned to that form again. Camilo just doesn’t have the track record of a Le Toux. As well, Whitecaps fans saw late last season that Camilo has one other issue. When he goes down, whether rightly or wrongly, he never gets the call. Camilo’s reputation as a diver has already been cemented with MLS officials, and it is something the club has got to get the Brazilian to understand. It’s not a matter of winning free kicks when you weren’t fouled in the first place; it’s to make sure you get free kicks when you are fouled. Camilo’s guaranteed compensation in 2011 was US$133,000, according to the MLS Players’ Union. Meanwhile, Le Toux, who is entering the final year of his contract, made US$179K last year. Designated Player Hassli’s cap hit is $335K, while he made $900K last year. Taking into account that Camilo is now in a different wage bracket, and its easy to see that the Camilo signing is a gamble. Whitecaps would be pushing a $700K cap hit on three attacking players. Considering that the Whitecaps sent allocation money to Philly in exchange for Le Toux, the kitty dwindles even more. So, if you’re reigning NASL MVP, Etienne Barbara, and you didn’t like Montreal’s basic entry-level offer for your services, does Vancouver have that much wiggle room to offer you much more — or even the chance of regular playing time so you can show that you’re worth the money?