VANCOUVER, B.C. – Let's keep this relationship going.
Vancouver Whitecaps Designated Player Kenny Miller didn't say that explicitly on Saturday, but through his two-goal performance in Vancouver's 4-1 win over the New York Red Bulls, he'll certainly have done his bid for a contract extension no harm.
The former Scottish international's contract is up in June, and he's said during preseason that ideally he'd like his Canadian adventure to continue beyond then.
The 34-year-old can negotiate with teams outside of MLS, given there's less than six months left on his contract.
“Listen, it's one game,” Miller told reporters following Saturday's match when asked about a potential extension. “As I said before, we don't get carried away. It's fantastic, we're going to go away and enjoy it – but it would be great to be off the market early doors.”
Miller opened the scoring in Saturday's win from the spot 34 minutes in, converting a penalty generated when Richard Eckersley handled in the area. The veteran forward fooled Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, sending the netminder left and hitting the ball the other way.
The former Celtic and Rangers man then essentially sealed the game with the 3-0 goal in the 77th minute, lobbing a bouncing ball over Robles after Pedro Morales sent him through alone.
Both were important, well-taken finishes from a player who has excelled during his time in Vancouver when fit, apart from a slow settling-in period at the tail end of 2012.
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With the arrivals of fellow Designated Players Morales and Matías Laba in the last two weeks, some have questioned whether there's the budget available to keep Miller around as well – but if he keeps hitting the target, he may leave Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson with little option but to find the money somewhere.
“Kenny's come back, worked his way over the offseason and he's got fit now,” Robinson said following Saturday's match. “He hasn't had a full preseason under his belt, but Kenny's a top player as well, and he makes others around him better.
“He got his reward today for a very good performance.”
Martin MacMahon covers the Vancouver Whitecaps for MLSsoccer.com.