Resurgent Kenny Miller leads Caps past CrewMarch 10, 2013 at 12:12 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps Season 2013 | Leave a comment
You have to give credit to Kenny Miller. After joining the Vancouver Whitecaps mid season last summer and becoming a figure of contempt, Miller has made up his mind to put things right. Miller wore the captain’s armband and led the team today with a fantastic effort. While Kenny is no Diego Maradona where touch on the ball is concerned, his commitment could not be doubted as he led the team to an entertaining 2-1 win over a dangerous Columbus Crew.
Todays game proved the Whitecaps are an entirely different team than the one that frustrated us so much in the second half of last season. This year’s team can play football, creating lots of exciting goalmouth action. The line-up was the same as started last match, except that Reo-Coker was in for Manneh, who saw no action in the match.
Daigo Kobayashi started the party early on six minutes when he received the ball 45 yards out from the Columbus goal. He moved forward, looked up, and saw the keeper off of his line. He hit a curling, dipping shot from 30-35 yards into the back of the net, which made it 1-0 Whitecaps. What a start it was, and the Whitecaps looked like they might be in the mood to rout the Crew.
The rout never happened however, and the Whitecaps, in particular Miller, could not score when clear chances came. Miller missed three chances, and Rio Coker and Rusin also came close; had the Whitecaps any luck it could have been 3-0 at the half.
The Whitecaps were still warming up when the whistle went to start the second half, and Columbus blew past them all to equal the score trhough Arrieta. Joe Cannon tried to anticipate to the right, but the point blank shot went left and fooled him. It was starting to look like one of those matches where a dominant team rues its missed chances and loses the match.
Luckily enough an aggressive Kenny Miller scored an opportunistic goal ten minutes later as he ran in the blind spot of a Columbus centre back and tackled him for the ball. Miller ran through on his own and finished clinically, putting the Caps up 2-1. It was a captain’s goal.
The last 30 minutes of the match were thrilling and tense, as Columbus threw men forward in a bid to tie it up. The Whitecaps defended deep and counter attacked. One such counter ended up with Miller clear through on his own again. Rather than shoot the ball he put the ball across for Hurtado, whose speed and eagerness had taken him offside. I am not sure who to blame… Miller should have finished himself, and Hurtado should have known to stay behind the ball. In the end it did not make a difference.
After a bit of a bumpy ride, the Whitecaps rode out five minutes of extra time to win the match. Last year we would have given up a late goal for a tie, but the influence of Nigel Reo-Coker was again key, as he helped the team keep possession of the ball to frustrate Columbus and see the match through.
All in all it was a great time with the Southsiders really doing a great job behind the goal. Isn’t it wonderful to see the Whitecaps playing good football for a change?