We'll find out in a few weeks whether a Vancouver Whitecap really can win the MLS goal of the year award.
Two years ago, forward Eric Hassli (now with FC Dallas) was beaten in a fan vote despite notching what may have been the most stunning goal in league history. His twisting, no-look volley -- under pressure and from an almost impossible angle -- beat Seattle Sounders legend Kasey Keller from long distance.
The man who snatched the 2011 honor, Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers, was on the field Sunday night as Whitecaps forward Camilo Sanvezzo made his case to bring the goal of the year trophy to Vancouver.
Nagbe (whose juggling, 2011 volley would have been a worthy winner most years) opened the scoring for visiting Portland late in the first half. Then the match blew open toward the end of the second. Camilo leveled terms in the 76th, Timbers captain Will Johnson put his side back in front a minute later and then Camilo equalized in the 78th with an acrobatic scissor-kick that slipped just inside the right post. The 25-year-old Brazilian later told reporters that he'd pulled the move off in training, but never in a game.
Camilo now is the second leading scorer in MLS, tied with Mike Magee at 18 goals and one behind Montreal's Marco Di Vaio. He doesn't get much recognition, however, considering his productivity. The Whitecaps are an average team (11-11-9) on the north side of the border that simply doesn't have the continental Q rating of its Cascadia rivals or other big MLS clubs.
That may have been a factor in why Hassli wasn't honored two years ago. There are still three weeks to go in the regular season, but it's hard to argue now that Camilo's strike doesn't deserve better. Hassli thinks so. On Monday morning he tweeted, "Goal of the year!!!! Wow!!!!"