March 11, 2013
Miller already is on thin ice
By Michael Lewis
Roy Miller has outlived his usefulness with the Red Bulls.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Out of all of the post-season moves that the Red Bulls did, the most disappointing one was one they did not pull the trigger on.
Left back Roy Miller, for some reason, survived the purge. The man with the longest seniority on the Red Bulls -- he was signed in January 2010 -- Miller wore out his welcome last season
He might be a Costa Rican international, but he certainly has not played like one for the Red Bulls the past two Major League Soccer seasons.
He seems to be a walking Calamity Jane where bad things just keep happening to him.
If you stayed up to watch the late horror show that was the Red Bulls' 2-1 road loss at the San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday night, Miller was at his worst in the waning minutes, making not one, but two mental mistakes.
He was called for a handball in the penalty area that set up a San Jose penalty kick.
He also was called for encroachment after goalkeeper Luis Robles saved Chris Wondolowski's attempt. Wondo wasn't denied on his second chance.
More than physical mistakes, they were mental errors, blunders that an international can ill-afford to make, considering his already shaky track record with the club.
There is little doubt Miller has got to go, especially after last season's shoddy performance.
Of course, that is easier said than done.
Before you get rid of a player, you have to have someone to take his place.
Yes, the Red Bulls can slide central defender Heath Pearce over to left back -- he was named MLS's best left back by Soccer America year -- but that is only a short-term cure. If you move Pearce to left back, there is no cover at central defender, where Markus Holgersson would pair with Jamison Olave.
So, the Red Bulls need either a new left back or a reserve central defender.
Given that he keeps getting called into his national team, there is little doubt that Miller has some market value.
It is the charge of sporting director Andy Roxburgh to find the right club -- perhaps one in Costa Rica -- that is willing to take the 28-year-old.
For the Red Bulls, it would be addition by subtraction.