Hard work pays off
Kenny Miller had his doubters after struggling to find his feet with Vancouver Whitecaps FC immediately upon arrival from Cardiff City FC, perhaps due to some unrealistic hopes placed on the Designated Player given that his English season ended two months before his arrival in MLS.
One who never seemed to doubt his fellow Scotsman was the man who brought him to Vancouver.
“He’s scored goals at every level he’s played at,” Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie said following Sunday’s 2-2 draw with Colorado Rapids. “He needs time to settle and some people settle in instantly, and other people it takes more time. I think he needs a little bit of time. He’s a good player, he’s proved that throughout his career. He showed that [on Sunday].
“If we get him chances, he’ll score goals.”
That faith paid dividends in Sunday’s match, with Miller’s halftime introduction inspiring a 'Caps comeback from 1-0 down.
That included a 68th-minute strike from the striker, who got on the end of a well-placed through ball from Barry Robson before drifting an effort past Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens to put Vancouver up 2-1.
Looking more lively than in his first few matches, Miller seemed to display an extra gear.
“I’m feeling pretty much where I would be [fitness-wise],” Miller said following a training session at Swangard Stadium on Tuesday. “It was good to come off the bench and get a goal on Sunday.”
WATCH: Miller scores his 1st MLS goal
After bagging that effort, Miller now has three goals in his last six games for club and country, and is hoping that’s a sign of a run of form to come.
“Speak to any striker, and they’ll say you go through purple patches where goals seem to happen and balls fall to you in the box,” Miller said. “Whereas, when you’re struggling for goals, things seem to elude you in the box. If you go front, it goes back, and if you go back, it goes front.
“Let’s hope after Sunday night, getting a goal, and with that goal for the national team, that can kick me off for the last four games and into the playoffs.”
While there was obvious disappointment on Sunday over the late defensive lapse that saw Colorado snatch an equalizer, the team is hoping that simply putting an end to a five-game losing streak, even with a draw, is a small step toward bouncing back to winning ways.
“We came close on Sunday night, but we just fell at the last hurdle,” Miller said. “It’s important that we put three points on the table Saturday night [against Seattle].”
Martin MacMahon covers Vancouver Whitecaps FC for MLSsoccer.com.