On Monday, we spoke with Camilo Sanvezzo, the MLS Player of the Week for Week 17. Nicknamed O Mágico, it is not hard to understand how he cast a spell on CD Chivas USA, scoring twice, and setting up Jordan Harvey’s first half stoppage time equaliser.
This is the second time that the Brazilian has received the award. The first one came back in the days of Empire Field. With Sporting Kansas City holding a commanding three-goal lead, the 22-year old Sanvezzo feathered a pass through two Sporting defenders to set up a 73rd minute Atiba Harris strike. He came agonizingly close to repeating the feat seven minutes later. Except this time Jimmy Nielsen was ready for him.
Vancouver continued to press, and in stoppage time, Sanvezzo scored twice in the span of sixty-two seconds. The match finished three apiece, but to anyone who bore witness to that day, the Whitecaps didn’t draw the match, they just ran out of time.
After eighty-four competitive matches, and almost six thousand minutes on the pitch, it is easy to forget how young Camilo really is, something that the forward is keenly aware of. "I’ve been a long time here. I’m 24, I’m going to be 25 years old, and I have a little bit of experience now."
He attributes his offensive re-emergence this year to his teammates, and of particular note, Kenny Miller, stand in Captain for the injured Jay DeMerit, and the one many call Canadian Soccer Jesus, Russell Teibert. "I think playing with guys like Kenny Miller and Russell, and Daigo too, have helped me. I am in my third year in MLS and I think this helps too."
Another factor in his ongoing development has been his greater command of the English language. "To live, here in Vancouver, I had to learn a little bit of English. It’s not good enough, but now I can go into restaurants, I can talk with people, and this is good."
Sanvezzo no longer needs to rely on interpreters or hand gestures, although the latter can still play a role. In fact, he has since become the interpreter, translating for Tiago Ulisses and Paulo Araujo, who have since moved on from the club.
"It’s better on the pitch too, because I know what the guys want. I know I can talk to them, to give them opportunities, and this is good too."
When we mentioned the World Cup to him, his eyes lit up. Although he didn’t say much on the matter, it was clear that this means a great deal to him. “I hope to be in Brazil for the World Cup. I don’t know if MLS is going to stop, but I hope I can go.”
And as for his goals this year, he is not focusing on the table or any Cup competition. His aim is clear, "My goal is just to play every game, to score as much as I can, and assist as much as I can." And with 11 goals and 3 assists to his credit, it seems to be working for him.
As for being named Player of the Week, he again showed his growing humility in contrast to his exploits. "This is good. Last week I think it was Kenny Miller. This week it’s me. We’ve improved our team, and I hope we can continue to improve like that and continue to win too.”