DENVER – With the Canadian national team undergoing a massive overhaul, Colin Miller was really in a no-win situation as interim head coach.
With Canada’s elimination from the 2013 Gold Cup, his time comes to an end after failing to help Canada to a victory in six international games. The best the Canadians could muster were two draws: one against the United States in January and the other on Sunday in Denver against CONCACAF Gold Cup Group A winners Panama.
“I would not turn down, ever, the opportunity to coach our national team. It’s been an absolute privilege to work with the staff and the players,” Miller said in his postgame press conference on Sunday. "Sure people will look at the results and go ‘it’s not what we would have wanted’ but in case of a rebuilding process we’re going to have to take some defeats and learn along the way. I’ve loved every minute.”
For all of his games in charge, Miller was mostly handed players that were largely without experience and often times not even playing for their club teams. He got no luck with injuries and illnesses at the Gold Cup as almost every day there was another player having to leave the camp for one reason or another.
In Seattle, Canada fell victim to a dive from Marco Fabián that won Mexico a penalty in their 2-0 win over Canada in the second match of the group. The tables could have been turned on Sunday as Canada forward Marcus Haber went down under some heavy contact in the dying minutes.
A prospective penalty kick would have likely given Canada their first win in 2013 and their first goal with Miller at the helm. But unfortunately for him and for Canada, no call was forthcoming.
“Marcus Haber has said there was strong contact inside the box and I genuinely believe it’s a penalty kick,” Miller said.
“He’s an honest player and he hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s been fouled inside the box, in my opinion, and I think it is a penalty kick and I said to the referee also after the game that I thought it was a penalty kick.”
A man who clearly cares deeply about the program he once represented at the international level, including in Canada’s lone World Cup appearance in 1986, Miller does have his fallback option. He heads right back to work on Monday as full-time coach of FC Edmonton of the NASL.
Gavin Day covers the Canadian national team for MLSsoccer.com.