VANCOUVER, B.C. – Two big signings are set to get their first starts for the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Designated Player Kenny Miller and former Newcastle defender Andy O’Brien will take to the field from the first whistle against FC Dallas at BC Place on Wednesday (10 pm ET, TSN/RDS2 in Canada, MLS Live in US).
Miller will play up front in place of Darren Mattocks, who is hoping to make his first international appearance for Jamaica in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, while O’Brien steps in for Jay DeMerit, who picked up a concussion in last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake.
While it’s a relatively quick opportunity for O’Brien, who only signed with Vancouver on August 1, it’s been a bit of a longer wait for Miller, who joined the club on July 16.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Miller said after a training session at BC Place on Tuesday. “I’ve been itching to get out there, to be honest. The one game that I watched, and the three games that I’ve been on the bench I’ve just been itching to get out there and start the game, so I’m really looking forward [to starting against Dallas].”
After watching his team primarily from the sidelines for the past few weeks, Miller is confident he’ll fit in as the tip of the spear in head coach Martin Rennie’s 4-3-3 formation.
“I’ve watched the system that they play,” Miller said. “I’ve played that many a time, with the [Scottish] national team and my club teams as well, so it’s a system I’m pretty familiar with. But I think the style of players we’ve got within the team suits me as well.
“It’s all about getting used to teammates and them getting used to me and how I play, and hopefully this last month has set a few things up for [the match].”
While Miller will surely be hoping to make the headlines with a goal on his first start, O’Brien is hoping for a slightly more anonymous full debut in the heart of the Whitecaps defense.
“From a defender’s point of view, the less you’re seen the better,” O’Brien said. “Because you’re judged on errors so to speak, you’re not the entertainers – the Camilos, the Kenny Millers and what have you. The less you’re seen, probably the better.”
Robson to wear the armband
With club captain DeMerit missing out, Designated Player Barry Robson will wear the armband in his stead.
“He’s captained a lot of teams he’s played for before,” Rennie said. “He’s a natural leader and he took the armband on Saturday and I think that will continue.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.