Highlights and context: Camilo stars again as Vancouver downs Chicago

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_wui8Fn8l4]

Fans in Vancouver, feel free to flood the comments with “it’s about time,” because I haven’t read too many people around North America writing something that should be obvious: Camilo needs to start getting some serious consideration for league MVP. Granted, it’s only July, and the only discussion about any awards centers on people’s midseasons picks — selections made with a half season’s levity — but when his two second half goals on Saturday vaulted his team to a 3-1 win over Chicago, the Vancouver Whitecaps attacker may have also vaulted himself toward the head of the MVP race.

Consider his Saturday contributions. After 66 minutes of relatively benign play from both sides, the 24-year-old Brazilian took matters into his own hands, going it alone after a long ball from Brad Knighton to open the scoring. Five minutes later, a perfect run along the back from Chicago’s defense strung him on another breakaway, and while Paolo Tornaghi initially thwarted his attempt to double Vancouver’s lead, Camilo eventually blasted a ball through the Fire defense for the winning goal.

With 12 goals, 10 in his last nine matches, Sanvezzo is now leads the league’s Golden Boot race, and while players like Kenny Miller and Nigel Reo Coker have had huge impacts on a consolidating Whitecaps squad, few players can have the effect Camilo had today. While you can’t launch a man’s MVP campaign based one streak, the potency of a Camilo-led attack compared to one without him (a look we saw too often from Vancouver last year) is obvious. Put him on that BC Place rug, let the Kekuta Manneh’s of the world roll that ball from 30 yards away (what happened on the second goal), and life becomes easy with a man like Camilo.

Robbie Keane was our pick for MVP, and it’s too soon to turn on the Galaxy focal point. But Camilo’s in this discussion. And if he doesn’t slow down, he’s going to end it.

Report: Newcastle activates $12m release clause of ex-Arsenal youth

Photo by Burak Kara/Getty Images
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Reports out of Turkey say Newcastle United have finally struck the transfer market for a new No. 10.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Aksam reports that Rafa Benitez got the Magpies hierarchy to activate a near $12 million release clause for Besiktas midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.

The 25-year-old was part of Arsenal’s youth set-up until 2012, making two League Cup appearances in 2011-12 before moving to Besiktas.

Dutch-born Ozyakup is 35-times capped with a goal for Turkey, twice captaining the Crescent-Stars.

Ozyakup lost playing time to Talisca this season, and registered just four assists in 24 appearances. In 219 appearances for Besiktas, he’s posted 27 goals with 50 assists.

Like the move for Newcastle?

Lukaku pens inspiring post on hard-scrabble upbringing

AP Photo/Matthias Schrader
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Manchester United and Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku has an inspiring and emotional post in The Players’ Tribune which tugs at the heart strings and explains his competitive fire.

[ MORE: West Ham adds Diop ]

Lukaku talks about how his family’s poverty caused him to become a fierce competitor in the hopes of meeting his dreams head-on and providing for his family.

The Belgian, 25, scored twice in his side’s 3-0 World Cup-opening win over Panama earlier this week, and is now far removed from his youth, but he tells his story as if it lives fresh in his mind.

From The Players’ Tribune:

There were even times when my mum had to “borrow” bread from the bakery down the street. The bakers knew me and my little brother, so they’d let her take a loaf of bread on Monday and pay them back on Friday.

Lukaku also talks about racism in football, his debut for Anderlecht, and that aforementioned competitive drive. It’s 100 percent worth the read.

West Ham signs club record center back from Toulouse

whufc.com
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West Ham has reportedly set a club record with its latest signing under new manager Manuel Pellegrini.

Issa Diop is the player, the 21-year-old Toulouse captain and center back costing the Irons around $29 million.

[ MORE: Arsenal signs Leno ]

Diop scored three goals with an assist and eight yellow cards in 31 Ligue 1 matches this season, giving the young defender 95 apps, six goals, three assists, and 23 yellows since debuting with the senior team at 18.

Capped by France at every level below the senior team, Diop’s 2.2 interceptions per game ranked sixth in Ligue 1.

Toulose finished 18th in Ligue 1, but won its promotion/relegation playoff to stay in the French top flight.

From WHUFC.com:

“I am very happy to sign for such a historic, English club, and I hope to show my best here. I am a very ambitious player and West Ham is a very ambitious club, as we’ve seen with the appointment of the new coach. I hope to help the team win lots of games and make the fans happy.”

Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show: Episode 3

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In the third episode of Layla’s Occasionally Unbiased Football Show, England pulls out a massive win while VAR finds its way into the World Cup spotlight.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

There will be plenty more to come over the next few weeks, with the show coming via the Men In Blazers.

Click play on the video above to watch the first episode in full.