By MIKE DONOVAN
Kenny Miller will be returning to the Vancouver Whitecaps for the 2014 season. Well at least, some of it.
The Scottish DP signed a six-month contract extension Wednesday that runs through June 2014. Miller struggled last season scoring just twice in 13 appearances, but he has turned it around with six goals for the surging Caps. Vancouver currently sits in fourth-place in the Western Conference standings.
If Miller wants to leave Vancouver next season, he will be able to negotiate a deal in January 2014, but the striker would then stay with the Whitecaps until his MLS contract runs out in June.
Here are some more news and notes from around the Western Conference heading into MLS Week 22 action:
Jamie Frias, who was acquired July 18 from parent club Chivas Guadalajara, made his Goats debut when played the full 90 minutes Monday in a reserve match with crosstown rival LA Galaxy. Prior to his arrival in California, Frias was the captain of the U-20 Chivas squad that won a national title in Mexico.
Frias has played for and worked with both head coach Jose Luis Real and assistant coach Marco Fabian from his time in Chivas’s academies. The Whittier, Calif. native hopes to be in the gameday 18 when the Goats travel to Seattle to take on the Sounders Sunday.
With five goals in the 2013 Gold Cup, Panama forward Gabriel Torres has been one of the tournament darlings. And according to reports out of Denver, Torres will get to stay in the United States well past the Gold Cup final this Sunday.
The Colorado Rapids are closing in on signing the 24-year-old from his Venezuelan club, Zamora FC, and are in talks to make Torres the club’s first designated player, according to the reports. The deal could be announced as soon as early next week.
Despite the July signings of midfielders Mauro Diaz and Erick, it is still unknown when the duo will make their FC Dallas debuts. Dallas has the weekend off from league play, but will take on the Premier League’s Stoke City FC.
Diaz seems more likely to dress for the Stoke City friendly, but as of Tuesday night, the Argentine midfielder had yet to receive his passport back after getting his ITC and visa approved. For Erick, a hamstring injury might push the Brazilian’s debut back a week until the club takes on the Seattle Sounders on August 3.
Pablo Mastroeni, who played for the Colorado Rapids for 12 seasons, will make his return to Colorado Saturday when the LA Galaxy take on his former club at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Mastroeni is the team’s all-time leader in games played and was captain of the side who won the 2010 MLS Cup.
Since being traded to LA in mid-June, the former US International has made five starts for the Galaxy.
“I just think that it is great to go back to a place that I’ve been for 12 years and get a result at a crucial point in the season,” Mastroeni told the Galaxy’s web site. “I’ll be playing in front of a lot of people that are close to me. It’s a special game, but looking at it from my perspective, it’s a big game because what it means to this club.”
Portland midfielder Darlington Nagbe is in his third season in MLS and there is at least one thing that has changed as Nagbe has developed into a consistent factor for the Timbers.
“I’ve noticed I’m getting kicked more,” Nagbe told the Oregonian. “Sometimes the calls are there, sometimes they’re not. I just notice I’m getting kicked more.”
On the season, the Akron product has five goals and three assists. He has also already set a career-high with 17 shots.
REAL SALT LAKE
Due to injuries, an international call-up, and a suspension, Real Salt Lake will head into Saturday’s matchup with the New York Red Bulls with five defenders out-of-action. The club will be missing three centerbacks and its usual starting fullbacks in Chris Wingert (suspension) and Tony Beltran (Gold Cup).
“You look at the lineup sheet for this weekend and you think to yourself, ‘What’s going to happen if we have an injury?’ ” head coach Jason Kreis told the Salt Lake Tribune.
The group of potential starters at the outside back positions include Lovel Palmer, usual midfielder Ned Grabavoy, the newly acquired Brandon McDonald and usual reserve team midfielders Cole Grossman and Enzo Martinez.
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
Forward Cordell Cato scored the game-winning tally in Saturday’s friendly against Norwich City as the Earthquakes won 1-0. The goal could be a springboard for Cato, who has played just 160 minutes this season for the Quakes in MLS play.
The 21-year-old has seen his playing time diminish in league play and has seen just four minutes of action since May 4. Cato might see the field more when San Jose enters CONCACAF Champions League play in August.
Despite a wave of injuries this season, Seattle Sounders Fitness coach Dave Tenney believes 2013 hasn’t been as bad as some think on the injury-front.
“I think when you have the 10,000-foot view, things look really, really bad,” Tenney told the Seattle Times. “When you have the up-close view, it’s not really as bad as you think.”
Seattle was down nine players due to injury for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the Rapids. Three of those injured players were out with hamstring issues, something that is potentially concerning to Tenney.
What do you think of these reports? Do you see Miller seeing out his new contract? Do you believe Torres can be successful in MLS? Do you see RSL’s injuries eventually catching up with them?
Share your thoughts below.