Kenny Miller (@MLS)
After this weekend, it was clear that if the Vancouver Whitecaps plan to make the playoffs they will need more than Kenny Miller to get there. Miller netted his 8th goal of the season for the Whitecaps on the weekend and his goal turned out to be the game winner against the Montreal Impact, in what was a must win game for Vancouver. However, the goals that sealed the deal came when Miller was on the bench, after getting a minor injury, when Camilo stepped up to score 2 goals in 2 minutes to solidify the win.
The Whitecaps needed all hands on deck during this game and they will every game going forward if they plan to make the post season. Kenny Miller is expected to be the player that brings this team up a level because of his leadership skills, international experience, career totals, and because of his pay check. What fans in Vancouver need to remember is that this is a team game and as much as one goal can win or lose you a game, Kenny Miller is not the man that will make or break this team’s chances of making the post season.
There is no mistaking that Miller will be a key component in the team making the most out of their last 5 games but he will need help. The Whitecaps fans should be paying attention David Ousted, Jay DeMerit, Nigel Reo-Coker, Gershon Koffie and Camilo, as they are the supporting cast of leaders on this team and as a unit those 6 will be the catalysts behind making or missing the playoffs.
Camilo and Miller will be relied on to continue their finishing ways, this I don’t believe will be the largest hurdle down the stretch. In my opinion, Reo-Coker, Koffie and DeMerit will be in the spotlight for the final contests. They need to control the middle of the park and make sure that their flanks are taking the opportunities to attack when presented but more importantly, they need to keep their defensive responsibilities.
Montreal peppered the Whitecaps with wave after wave of attack for what seemed like an eternity. That eternity was really 60 minutes of play, where the Impact controlled the center of the park and the game. Ousted bailed out his teammates a few times with key saves when it was required of him and the Whitecaps faithful will want to see that level of play continue as they hit the home stretch against the top teams in the west.
With Real Salt Lake, Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders and 2 games against the Colorado Rapids, the middle 3 will need to get themselves ready for war. All of the teams are ahead of them and the home and home series against Colorado may be what decides if Vancouver makes the playoffs.
The team passed their first “must win” with Miller and Camilo providing their presence, however, the bend but not break nature of the defensive game will make it tough to maintain positive results. Ousted has to continue to play as he did against Montreal and the middle 3 must firm up the team around them, so that Vancouver isn’t on its heels the majority of the game. If that happens, the Whitecaps will be making the playoffs at the expense of one of their next 4 opponents.