Kick Off: Miller yet another building block for Whitecaps

Kick Off: Miller yet another building block in Rennie's project

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Vancouver Whitecaps

Martin Rennie has had his hands full for the past week or so.

First, it was the transfer of Davide Chiumiento back to Switzerland with FC Zurich, a move that stunned at least one of his teammates. Then Sebastian Le Toux was sent to an ambitious New York side in exchange for Dane Richards and allocation money.

On Monday, Rennie's big picture came into focus as the Whitecaps made a splash by signing Scotland captain Kenny Miller as their third Designated Player alongside Barry Robson and Eric Hassli.

And although some might question Rennie’s approach, he said adding the versatile Miller is just another step in the project going on in Vancouver.

“It’s not like a get-rid-of-one, bring-in-the-other type move,” Rennie said, referencing Friday’s Le Toux trade. "We’re always looking to see how we can build the squad and make it better.”

Miller scored 11 goals in 49 appearances for Cardiff City last season, but said he tries to impact the game in more areas than just the penalty box. “I’ve got a lot more than goals to offer in my game,” said Miller. “But obviously, as a striker, you want to score as many goals as you can.”

Fox Soccer analyst and Dundee native Bobby McMahon had high praise for his countryman, but emphasized that there was one crucial difference between Miller and Kris Boyd, MLS’ other Scottish DP striker.

"You put the ball on Boyd's foot in the penalty box and it's in,” McMahon said. "But from Boyd you get no work rate. [He's] somebody that's easy to pick up but comes alive in the penalty box. Miller will do so much work in and around the box."

In Cardiff, however, one columnist says Miller failed to deliver for the Bluebirds, one of the main reasons the club was willing to allow the striker to move on to new pastures.

Meanwhile, in Toronto, a Designated Player that has more than proved himself in MLS will miss the rest of the season. In a massive blow to the Reds hopes in the CONCACAF Champions League and for the remainder of the MLS regular season, Dutch forward Danny Koevermans has been ruled out for the year –  and possibly longer – with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Toronto manager Paul Mariner said he feared the worse after Saturday’s game vs. New England, and those fears were confirmed on Monday, leaving the club to look elsewhere for goals: "Someone's going to have to step up and become a goal scorer for us," Mariner said following Toronto's 1-0 win. "You know Luis [Silva] has two [goals] in two [games], you can see what a good player he is. ... There's more than one way to skin a cat."

Houston seem primed to lose an important part of their team as well, though by choice. According to a report in England, sources close to Stoke City said the Potters "remain confident of eventually landing" Geoff Cameron, although a timetable is still up in the air. The gap between MLS and the EPL club appears to center on a difference in the value each side has assigned the player.

Could LA Galaxy striker Chad Barrett be on his way to Norway? That appears to be a possibility after an interview with Valerenga manager Martin Andresen mentioned that the forward is on his way to Oslo to train with the club. “We have some good reports on Chad and he wished himself to come to Norway to show off," Andresen told the club's official website. “When we have seen him in our environment, we can make an even more thorough assessment of him as to whether we want to tie ourselves to him.”

Marco Di Vaio has only been with the Impact for a few weeks, but he has plenty of MLS insight to share with his countrymen. In an interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport, Di Vaio said the next step in the development of the league will be tactical: “In MLS the players are real animals, and they run like crazy. But tactically they have to improve. To make the jump in quality the league needs other European players, but especially coaches that can bring different ideas.”

For the past year, Michael Bradley has been soaking up the Italians' tactical acumen with Chievo. Now that he's sealed a move to Roma, Steve Davis says his development should continue unabated, something that US fans would surely welcome.

The Seattle Sounders are world-class in at least one aspect of the game: attendance. Check out some eye-opening stats that place the Pacific Northwest club, and MLS in general, near the top of the global game. Seattle will also play Champions League winner Chelsea on Wednesday, a game that could draw more than 60,000 fans to CenturyLink Field.

The Blues took the time to hang out with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks on Monday ahead of their first preseason friendly in the US. (VIDEO)

Check out this interview with RSL's Chris Wingert, who sheds some light on the factors behind and emotions surrounding RSL's 5-0 loss in San Jose on Saturday night.

The stats gurus at Opta sat down with one of soccer's most influential authors, Simon Kuper. Read the transcript here.

Grant Wahl previews the Olympic soccer tournament, and says one CONCACAF team could surprise some people in London.

Finally, Forbes listed Manchester United as the world's most valuable sports team. Four clubs from the world of soccer, two each from England and Spain, found themselves in the top 10.

MLSsoccer.com Musts

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