Timbers' Boyd welcomes friend, ex-'mate Miller to MLS

Kenny Miller and Kris Boyd at Rangers

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Kris Boyd knows just what the Vancouver Whitecaps are getting in Kenny Miller.

The Portland Timbers striker (above left) has played both with and against Miller (above right), a fellow Scottish international who the Vancouver Whitecaps announced Monday would be the team’s newest Designated Player. And now that two of Scotland’s most famed players are within 300 miles of each other in MLS, Boyd said it’s a testament to the league’s growth and future potential.

There are now three DPs from Scotland in the league, and Boyd said it’s not at all a surprise, pointing to former clubs Rangers and Eskisehirspor – the Turkish club where he reportedly went unpaid – as examples of the financial uncertainty facing players in Europe.

“I look at the whole European situation, and there’s a lot of players out there at clubs back in Europe where it’s maybe not settled and there’s a bit of uncertainty and things like that,” Boyd told MLSsoccer.com on Tuesday. “Whereas here you can concentrate solely on your football. You know there’s not going to be any off-field [distractions].”

Boyd spoke with his former teammate about MLS several months ago when Miller was considering a move and again over the weekend when he signed with Vancouver.

“He’s delighted to be there and he’s looking forward to getting started scoring goals,” he said. “I’m sure, over the next few weeks, the league will see how good a footballer Kenny Miller is. I’m delighted that he’s got something sorted that he’s happy with.”

Boyd said he wouldn’t be surprised if more of his countrymen followed suit.

“There are probably a lot of players who would be willing to do it, but at the same time it’s getting the opportunity to do it,” he said. “There’s probably 90 percent of the players back home who if you asked them to come to the MLS they would probably want to come because I think you look at the type of players who are starting to come now and it’s starting to go places."

It was Boyd’s abbreviated time with the Scottish national team when he got to know Miller best, forming a memorable partnership up top.

“We worked really well together,” Boyd said. “Yeah, it was great for me. He’s a top-class player, one of the best players I’ve played with. And he causes teams a lot of problems.”

But Boyd’s well wishes only go so far. After all, Miller is now part of Cascadia rivalry triumvirate, along with Seattle, that is one of the most heated in North America in any sport. The Timbers face Vancouver again on Aug. 25 at JELD-WEN Field.

“Obviously you want to win every game," Boyd said, "but when you’re going against ex-teammates – and I’ve been there before – you don’t want to be the one who’s lost the game and you’ve got to listen to them in your ear for the next three or four months until you play them again. You want to come out on top in these games anyway, but because you know someone there it gives it that added spice.”

Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at dcitel@hotmail.com.