Whitecaps stage amazing comeback to salvage tie
Brazilian striker Camilo made sure the Vancouver Whitecaps didn't miss their top scorer Saturday.
Camilo scored two goals in second-half stoppage time to rally the Whitecaps to a dramatic 3-3 tie with visiting Sporting Kansas City.
The 22-year-old filled in for fellow striker Eric Hassli, who sat out due to suspension because of a red card in last week's loss to Philadelphia.
"(Camilo) could have had about six goals today, and the more we learn his runs he's going to score more goals," Whitecaps midfielder Terry Dunfield said. "It's very good to be able to score three goals with a lot of injured players and Hassli being suspended. It just shows you we are deep and we are fit and we've got a long way to go, but we're showing people we are a contender."
Atiba Harris also scored for the Whitecaps (1-1-1), who trailed 3-0 with less than 20 minutes to go.
"Heads are down and we're thinking let's keep it respectable, and then all of a sudden one goes in and the comeback is on," Dunfield said.
Canadian striker Teal Bunbury had a pair for Kansas City (1-1-1), while Kai Kamara also scored.
Camilo, who matched Hassli's goal total on the season, came through after coach Teitur Thordarson wrestled with whether to insert him or Chinese striker Long Tan up front alongside Harris.
"(Camilo and Harris) scored three goals. (Hassli) has to score more than that (when he comes back)," joked Thordarson.
Earlier in the week, the coach was not certain of Camilo's fitness level because he had not played much before signing with the Whitecaps in mid-March. In the end, Thordarson chose the Brazilian because of his offensive flair.
"In the last week, he's really shown what he can do," Thordarson said.
Harris started the comeback in the 73rd minute, slotting home a pass from substitute Nazir Khalfan.
Then with time ticking away, Camilo converted a pass from substitute Davide Chiumiento in the 92nd minute and moments later headed home another setup from Khalfan to earn Vancouver an unlikely point at Empire Field.
"We stayed positive all the way through … That's just a fantastic result," Thordarson said.
Until Camilo's late heroics, Bunbury was the star of the game. The 21-year-old from Hamilton, Ont., now has three goals in two games this season, despite being bothered by a sore elbow. He also made up for the absence of his club's suspended top scorer, Omar Bravo, who like Hassli didn't play because of suspension.
"We lost our concentration at the end," Bunbury said. "We can't let that happen ... We've gotta just stay focused as a team."
Kansas City coach Peter Vermes said fatigue finally caught up to his team, which will play its first 10 games on the road while its new stadium is completed.
Camilo and Harris combined to create several chances as the Whitecaps controlled play in most of the first half and forced Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen to make four difficult saves.
However, Bunbury staked Kansas City to a 1-0 lead in first-half stoppage time. Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly dove to stop Milos Stojcev. After the ensuing Kansas City corner kick rebounded off a Whitecaps defender, Bunbury buried a shot behind a diving Nolly.
The late first-half goal gave the visitors new offensive life and they took the play to the Whitecaps early in the second half. In the 58th minute, Bunbury took a through ball from Stojcev before sidestepping Vancouver defender Alain Rochat and beating Nolly.
Five minutes later, Kamara put Kansas City up 3-0 after C.J. Sapong ran down a long ball on the flank and passed to him in the 18-yard box. He beat a helpless Nolly with a low shot to the corner.