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Camilo scores a hat-trick as 'Caps end preseason on a high

February 24, 2013 - Major League Soccer (MLS) Vancouver Whitecaps FC

CARY, NC - Camilo became the second player to net a hat-trick for Vancouver Whitecaps FC this preseason as the Blue and White surged to a 3-0 victory against North American Soccer League (NASL) club Carolina RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday.

In their final match of preseason, head coach Martin Rennie played a completely changed lineup from the squad that faced Chicago Fire on Saturday. Included among those changes was former English Premier League player Nigel Reo-Coker, who made his debut for the 'Caps as a central midfielder. Reo-Coker also wore the captain's armband for the match, indicating Rennie's confidence in the leadership ability of his experienced acquisition.

It took only a few minutes for Whitecaps FC to get their first chances of the match. On two minutes, Camilo played a beautiful through ball to striker Corey Hertzog, but RailHawks goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald quickly snatched it up. Three minutes later, Greg Klazura made a lovely cross to Hertzog, whose header was once again stopped by Fitzgerald.

Nine minutes in, the breakthrough came for the visitors. A foul in the 18-yard box against Hertzog gave the 'Caps a penalty, which Camilo easily buried to give the 'Caps a 1-0 lead.

For the remainder of the first half, both teams exchanged chances, but neither team was able to hit the net until the 34th minute, when Camilo hit a dipping shot from the edge of the 18-yard box to increase the 'Caps lead to 2-0.

The Brazilian almost completed his hat-trick in the dying seconds of the first half, but Fitzgerald kept him at bay to keep the score at 2-0 for the 'Caps at the end of the first 45 minutes.

Any momentum for Carolina would be short-lived, as it only took a few minutes into the second half for Camilo to get his third, tapping in a beautiful low cross from Klazura.

In the 66th minute, the match brought the debut of centre back Johnny Leverón, who came on as a sub for 2013 Supplemental Draft pick Adam Clement.

For the remainder of the second half, the RailHawks made plenty of attempts to break the 'Caps defence, but they were blocked by the solid play of Vancouver's back end.

In the end the home side could not get past a strong defensive effort from Rennie's squad as Whitecaps FC wrapped up the match with a 3-0 victory.

Rennie was pleased with the team's final preseason performance and came away impressed with what Reo-Coker brought to the team in his first match.

"I was really pleased with many things that probably go unnoticed," commented Rennie. "Even in the locker room before the match, he was a big presence and brought a great deal of energy and confidence to the young players. I think he needs a little bit more time to get fully fit, but I think he will be a fantastic addition to our team and an excellent MLS player."

Whitecaps FC now return home as they head to their new home at UBC's National Soccer Development Centre (NSDC) to wrap-up preseason training prior to their 2013 season opener next Saturday, March 2 at home to Toronto FC at BC Place. Kickoff for the home opener is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT. Tickets are still available for what promises to be an entertaining Canadian clash.

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Major League Soccer Stories from February 24, 2013


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