Miller quietly making the most of latest chance

Roy Miller

Photo by ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

HARRISON, N.J. — This might be something few could have believed as recently as two weeks ago but in a recent stretch of eight days that saw the New York Red Bulls play three games, Roy Miller was one of the club’s most consistent performers.

The oft-criticized Miller earned his first start for the Red Bulls since his well-documented meltdown in Week 2′s loss to the San Jose Earthquakes when New York visited D.C. United on April 13. The Costa Rican was a shock starter in the Atlantic Cup match but to the surprise of many fans and pundits, he held up well and helped negate Chris Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario en route to the Red Bulls picking up a 2-0 win.

It’s been more of the same since then. Miller was given the nod in both a 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City and a 4-1 pummeling of the New England Revolution, and in both games the 28-year-old left back provided a good outlet for the Red Bulls’ midfielders, was confident on the ball (even delivering some nifty passing combinations with Thierry Henry against the Revolution) and, most importantly, defended well.

The newfound confidence Miller is playing with has been nothing short of impressive, especially after all the public criticism he received earlier in the season when he displayed a lack of knowledge for the rules of the game by admitting to encroaching on a penalty kick on purpose.

“I didn’t dress him for games afterwards and I wasn’t happy with him at times throughout that process,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said after seeing his club defeat New England this past Saturday. “But the one thing that I said all along and Roy did, and that’s the type of character I want, he held his hand up, made no excuses, took the blame for everything and went to work every day. No complaints out of him. That to me spells character right there”

Miller’s teammates also attested to his selfless attitude throughout the past week and they were also happy to see him show his quality on several plays in those three games, including on one sublime cross to Henry that should have resulted in an equalizer against Sporting KC.

Miller, himself, has admitted to being content with how he has performed recently but his string of strong showings dates back to before that start against United.

A week before playing at RFK Stadium, Miller shone in a reserve team game against the Chicago Fire and he had also been performing in training for some time, signs that indicated to Petke that his troubled left back was over the hump and ready to contribute again.

“I said it before if I don’t reward my players, why should we have a reserve team, why should we have 30 players on the roster,” said Petke. “He’s a good example of somebody who had a bit of a dip and bounced back.”

Bounced back and then some, as Miller has taken full advantage of an opportunity that seemed so unlikely to come not long ago.

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14 Responses to Miller quietly making the most of latest chance

  1. Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

    Way to go Roy Boy!

  2. Michael F SBI Mafia Original says:

    As his harshest critic I admit he’s earned his way back. But why do I keep expecting the next outing to be a meltdown? Oh that’s right, he’s Roy Miller, lol.

  3. Georkt says:

    Give the man his due, he’s been quality.

  4. ChiTown says:

    This is the guy who intentionally encroached on a penalty he caused because he didn’t know the rules and was trying to punish the referee and opposing team.

    He was 28 when he did that. Yeah, he’s not changing. Countdown until the next meltdown.

  5. Rob says:

    Guys, although he’s been good of late, think about how many bad mistakes he’s made. On which stages? To what outcomes? This guy is poison, his next mistake will cost this team greatly. It always has, it’s always gonna be. There are other players on this team who deserve those minutes, it’s time to move on.

    • TomG says:

      +1 – tend to agree. He is very talented and will go through many stretches where he looks excellent, but the bottom line is that he has a tendency to lose focus and make shambolic errors in judgement. That’s bad enough for a forward or midfielder, but for a defender? It’s not acceptable. That’s why Tim Ream can’t get off the bench for Bolton.

    • OPMG says:

      I’m not a NYRB fan, I dislike them very much in fact. I tend to agree that it’s only a matter of time before Roy Miller makes another costly mistake. But how many games will he help the team win in the mean time? People are acting like Roy Miller is the only person who makes costly mistakes, like somehow only Roy Miller could mess up and gift a goal to the other team. You can’t bench somebody because even though they’re playing great right now, they’ll make a mistake in the future. That line of thinking is pretty ridiculous.

      • TomG says:

        I’m not really sure what you’re talking about. If you can find me one person who said Roy Miller is the only one making mistakes on the team, I’d be very surprised. I’ve never heard anyone say anything close to that. It is very well documented how plagued NYRB has been by poor management and decisions throughout its history. Too early to tell for sure, but Juninho has been absolutely horrific this year and Cahill can’t find the back of the net with a compass and a map. Regardless, you certainly can bench players who are mistake prone. Why do you think Tim Ream and Freddie Adu can’t ever get off the bench for their teams.

  6. Danny M says:

    It’s time to forgive and forget. We are not a bunch of females who keep crap in forever. We vent ASAP and let it go. He manned up and played one hell of a game against NE. He was a missing piece to the puzzle. Lloyd Sam did the same. Both deserve to start after performances like that.

    Here Petke. Work with this.

    4-2-3-1
    —–Luyindola/Espindola ——–Henry—————
    —-Sam —————-Cahill ———— Steele——–
    —————McCarty——–Juninho/Barklage——
    – Miller— Holgerson– Olave/Pearce —Barklage -
    ——————–Meara/Robles————————–

    • Brain Guy says:

      Besides your odd and sexist characterization of “females,” you have sketched out a twelve-man lineup.

      • Gene says:

        Yea, but Barklage is playing both midfield and in the back line..

        • Danny M says:

          Ha! You guys are funny. Yea the top line should be pushed together. My fault. I heard Petke is sticking to the 4-4-2 and may revert back to 4-3-3.

          4-3-3
          —-Luyindola——–Henry—— Espindola/Steele—
          —– Steele — Cahill/McCarty/ Juninho — Sam—-
          – Miller/Pearce —Olave –Holgerson—Barklage —
          ——————–Meara/Robles————————-

          Tell me this isn’t a winning team.

      • Artie says:

        Danny strikes me as the type who would respond: “what do you expect? girls can’t do math.”

      • @NotAlexis says:

        “We’re not just some broads here washing our clothes and talkin gossip. We punch each other in the nuts, talk about how great it would’ve been to be an extra in the Top Gun volleyball scene & fuhgetaboutit! Hey Petke! One word: extra player. I’ll hang up and listen to your response.”