VANCOUVER, B.C. – After a first half in which the Vancouver Whitecaps had the better of possession and the chances, Jairo Arrieta’s 46th-minute equalizer could have swung the momentum.
The Columbus Crew forward's goal certainly silenced BC Place, but Kenny Miller had other ideas about how the game would go and 16 minutes later the Whitecaps captain answered by stealing the ball off Glauber and slotting home the winner in a 2-1 victory.
“We were a bit unfortunate maybe not to go in [at halftime] two or three up,” Miller said. “But obviously the start of the second half was disappointing to lose a goal so early in the half, but we regrouped again and it’s another three points and a fantastic team performance to get the win.”
While Miller repeatedly emphasized the importance of the win from a team perspective, it was easy to see the personal satisfaction on his face after he bagged the decisive goal. Dogged by criticism in his first year in MLS and seemingly weighed down the by Designated Player tag, he has looked a different player through two games in the 2013 season.
Surprising to some, but not his coach.
“Just like most players who come in halfway through the season, apart from [Crew playmaker Federico] Higuain, he takes a little bit of time to settle,” Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said of Miller. “He’s been excellent in preseason, he was fantastic again today, [and] scored a goal from closing down and chasing someone which he definitely deserved.
“He was running back to the left back area all day and worked really hard for the team and showed how good a player he is.”
Miller - who wore the armband as regular captain Jay DeMerit was out hurt - is simply content to get his first goal so early in the season and he is also pleased to have helped the Whitecaps jump out to an 2-0 start.
“It’s always nice to get off the mark as a striker and you’re always going to be judged on goals,” Miller said. “Second game in, you’ve managed to get off the mark, and it being the winning goal is doubly pleasing.
“But again, more importantly, it’s two wins from two. Two home games at the start of the season was an opportunity for us to put some points on the board and everyone in the dressing room is delighted with that.”