HAMILTON –Sergio Camargo has been on the stage before.
The year was 2017, and Toronto FC of Major League Soccer has just completed a historic treble – that’s a record-breaking regular season campaign in MLS where they finished first, a dramatic Canadian Championship win, and revenge over the Seattle Sounders to clinch the MLS Cup at BMO Field.
As captain Michael Bradley makes his way across the stage past a jubilant Sebastian Giovinco, Camargo watches on, a grin painted on his face, as he and his teammates celebrate history on the grandest stage in MLS.
Flash forward two years, and Camargo is ready to do it again with Cavalry FC.
Only, this time around, Camargo isn’t just a face in a crowd of players. He’s the leading man.
“It’s a big contrast,” Camargo told CanPL.ca during Media Day in Hamilton. “My roles have changed. I was a reserve player at that time, and now I’m a key part of a team that’s been so successful this year. Although no one can take it away from me that I was an MLS Cup, you definitely feel more pride when you’re a big part in the success of the team, for sure.”
Camargo has been reborn at Cavalry FC, a true No. 10 for Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side. His exploits for the season include six goals and three assists in 18 matches, helping his team win the Spring and Fall titles en route to a spot in Finals 2019.
In reflecting upon his first foray on a finals stage, Camargo looked back on the lessons he learned from some of his teammates in Toronto, particularly in how they carried themselves in the build-up to the occasion.
“I saw the way that big players like Sebastian Giovinco and Michael Bradley prepare for finals, and the whole playoffs, and the kind of mannerisms they kept, on and off the field. They didn’t let anything get to them; they didn’t let the moment weigh on them,” Camargo explained.
“They continued to do what they were doing all year, which made them so successful. That’s what I’m taking into these finals. This team, our team, has been the top team throughout the Spring and Fall, so there’s no reason for us to change what we’ve done now. These two games, even if they are talked up as a huge moment, it’s just another two games of football, against a team we’ve faced a lot. We’ve had our successes and defeats, so we know what we need to do to win.”
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One of the biggest lessons Camargo learned is also one that transcends the training grounds, though.
“Don’t let the moment pass,” Camargo affirmed. “This is the easiest it’s going to be to win a Canadian Premier League finals. It’s two games. It won’t be this easy again, because next year we’ll have to do it all over again, and win all those games all over again. Those are the lessons that I learned at Toronto FC. Once you’re in it, don’t let it pass you by. It’ll never be as straightforward as it is over these next two weeks, winning this championship.”
Camargo and his Cavalry teammates will have their first chance in Leg 1 at Tim Hortons Field on Saturday, Oct. 26 (available on OneSoccer and CBC). But … the 25-year-old is fairly confident everything will go smoothly over two legs.
“It would be my second treble in three years,” Camargo pointed out. “This is a treble, with Spring, Fall, and Finals 2019. It’s going to be a special moment. I’m itching for November 2nd to find out who wins … and to celebrate, because it’s probably going to be us.”