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RBNY’s Miller in hot seat after latest shocker

Roy Miller


Roy Miller has a long history of folding under pressure.

In three years with New York, the longest tenured Red Bull has also been the most gaffe-prone member of the team when it comes to high-intensity situations.

During the 2010 playoffs, Miller failed to spot a streaking Wondolowski in the box allowing a late, series tying goal to the Earthquakes and all but assuring New York’s elimination from the playoffs. In 2011, a clumsy challenge in the box against David Beckham allowed Landon Donovan to sink a ball in from the spot thus sending the Red Bulls toppling out of the postseason. Just last year, Miller had two memorable playoff gaffes: an own goal at RFK Stadium against DC United and a potential playoff saving free kick taken in the return leg that was kicked so far off the mark, people are still waiting for the ball to land.

During Sunday’s 2-1 loss at San Jose, you saw both the best and worst of Miller. For nearly 70 strong minutes, he was one of the steadiest members of a shaky and suspect defensive line. His overlapping runs were few, but noticeable, giving New York an added dimension in an otherwise timid attack.

As the match entered it’s final minutes and with New York clinging to the lead, the other half of Roy Miller reared its ugly head. Dr. Jeckyl turned Mr. Hyde on the game tying goal as Miller lost his marker, allowing Adam Jahn to knot the game up at 1-1.

One can argue that Luis Robles could have been more aggressive on the cross, but the passive Miller did little to protect the back post regardless of his keeper’s positioning.

The transformation continued for Miller. He inconceivably conceded a corner after juggling the first attempt out of danger. Before you could ask yourself “what was that about?” the Costa Rican back took a flailing stab at blocking a rainbow header from Sam Cronin. He got to the attempt but used his hands in the box to do it, which he apparently forgot was a major no-no in soccer.

Luis Robles redeemed the failures of his defender by stopping the ensuing penalty kick, but once again, Miller could not get out of his own way. Nearly matching Wondolowski step-for-step the minute the whistle blew for the PK, the defender was called for encroachment and the kick was ordered to be retaken.

Wondolowski didn’t miss and Miller was once again guilt of another costly implosion.

Miller’s continued ineptitude at the end of the match took away from what had been a well-executed plan by the Red Bulls. New York held on to their one goal lead and played, as Hans Backe once put it, “cynical soccer” to bring home a point or even three. The one thing they did not account for was another mental breakdown by Roy Miller.

“They worked their asses off,” Petke said of his players after the match. “I’ll give them that. But we didn’t learn from our playoff penalty kick. Stepping in the box early again after a great save by Robles? Killed us.”

For many, it was a surprise that Miller made it through to another season with New York in the first place. It was even more surprising to see him excel in preseason and be heralded as one of the better defenders during training camp by the team’s staff. His play this winter put him over Heath Pearce and Connor Lade on the team’s shallow left back depth chart. Pearce, a career leftback, has made a strong transition to the middle which helped, in part, alleviate the competition at the spot. Nevertheless, after a game like the one he suffered in San Jose, it would be shocking to see Miller start for the Red Bulls again any time soon.

“I’m not going to tell (Miller) a word tonight,” Petke said after the match. “I’ll calm myself down a little bit, rewatch the video on the plane and address all the issues (this week).”


What do you think of Miller’s latest meltdown? Should the Red Bulls waive him? Think he could still be a useful player for New York? Who would you start in his place?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The header was won by Adam Jahn, not Sam Cronin. The same Adam Jahn that won the SBI Rookie of the Week. Weak by SBi writers. Again.

  2. Conor Lade is just as bad. How bad is he ? Roy Miller still seemed like a better option than him even after the Timbers game. Robles is terrible, like a scared baby kitten. Only going to get worse before it gets better. Sack Petke get a real coach. Pay Henry to leave and get a real team on the field.

  3. Miller out for Hulk= we’re better

    Juninho in= better

    Sam?= better

    that new french guy?= better?

    Robles out for Meara=better

    Chemistry w time=better

    we should be ok

  4. Very interesting thoughts on Robles. With Bouna, at least the utter disorganization was entertaining as hell.

    As for Miller — no need to be fair or balanced. His overlapping runs don’t mean anything. When he remembers to get into the attack, he’s a sure-fire momentum killer, either crossing it to no one or getting stripped of the ball on the touchline. I want to be sympathetic to him — he’s only trying to put food on his family, after all. But he’s got to go.

    And how about this? RBNY went downhill…when? When Tim Ream left. Believe it!

  5. I was at the match and standing just behind the goal for the second half. Luis Robles has the worst presence of any goalkeeper I have ever seen. He has no voice, does no organizing. Barklage and Olave were yelling at him constantly to take some control. And on the goal, he did nothing to ensure that Cahill track Cronin into the box (which was the real reason the goal was scored), or to be sure Miller was touch tight to his man on the far post.

    Don’t get me wrong, Miller had a melt down, but a more active/commanding GK would have mitigated the problem.

    • I agree with this and Robles is way too cute with clearing the ball as well. It’ll come back to haunt him at some point.

    • +1 4now. Thanks for this insight. That is precisely the kind of interesting thing I hope to get from from these forums

      • we’ve got money meara anyway. not too worried about it. GK hasn’t been a red bulls strength in quite awhile. meara will be satisfactory.

  6. A message to Petke. Roy is going to cost you your job. That’s two games in two weeks and he can be directly blamed for three goals. He is far and away the most unfundamentally sound Red Bull defender I have watched. Time to give up on him. Was Petke not on the sideline last year watching him play his way to the bench. Roy Miller=Sh*t, Sh*t=Roy Miller.

  7. Sounds like Miller has lost his starting spot; Thank God! If Petke decides to continue starting him, and Miller messes up again, it will be 100% shame on the coach. Petke doesn’t need that right now, so early in his tenure. The safe choice is to do what Backe did and put Miller back on the shelf.

    I would have liked the team to have traded Miller in the offseason, but I think his value is so damaged now that I’m not sure it would be feasible. I can just imagine better things to do with his $115k salary than put it on the bench. Maybe the team cuts him and works on signing Kolo Toare, as is rumored.

    • This was my initial thought while watching it. I have never seen one player melt-down so much.

      Two free kicks given up in vulnerable positions. Ball-watching on the first goal while his mark scored. Hand-ball in the box. Encroachment on the PK.

      All this in 15 minutes by a player whose team was winning when he started doing it.

      I know it stinks to make that kind of accusation without some kind of evidence, but that’s definitely where my brain went.

  8. The options on the left are: Connor Lade (good for one brain-f**t per game) or Heath P. But if you play HP on the left, then you have Holgersson in the middle. I didn’t think Holgersson was that terrible, once he got going last season, but it was a pretty small sample size. Plus, Olave and Holgersson are similar (tough as nails, touch like a rhino), playing both means you have no chance of ever playing out of the center of the back.

  9. I said it yesterday so I’ll say it again: How RB kept Miller this season is utterly inconceivable.

  10. I’m not sure why people are saying the pressure is on Petke to make a switch. From personnel decisions in the front office all the way down to the lineup card, it is the responsibility of acting owner/director/manager/coach/agent Thierry Henry to pull the plug on his buddy Roy’s abysmal NYRB career. As the sole string-puller, Henry has a duty to keep his young figurehead “coach” out of the mud.

  11. Wow! This description of the closing minutes of the game has to have some people looking into organized crime, I just wouldn’t have thought that there were not that many people betting on the Red Bull to win or tie over last season’s supporters shiled winner.

  12. To fair to Miller — after getting burned by letting Jahn run past him, he wasn’t going to let Wondo do the same thing, even if Wondo was just taking a PK.

    “Fool me once, shame on me…fool me twice…uh…well, we won’t get fooled again!”

      • Great one.

        Reminds me when Obama said that he had been “in 57 states” with “one left to go.” Or when he referred to Hawaii as being in Asia. Or when he said he would push to see “three proud words” on products around the world: “Made in the USA.”

        And then there’s Biden…

      • Someone mocked Bush and he couldn’t let that go without pointing out that Obama mispeaks at times too because, yeah, he really is that insecure.

      • Duuuuuuude, are you?

        I’m on a soccer blog and somebody puts a great f’up from GWB. It made me laugh, and reminded me of the many f’ups of BHO and JRB.

        If you are going to get your knickers in a twist over D and R screw ups, maybe you should stick to the N. Korea soccer blogs.

      • Don’t fall for V-8 guys. He’s Roy Miller in disguise trying to make this a political argument. Almost worked too! Strategery!

      • Of course, agreeing with someone who tacked on a Bush quote from 7+ years ago to a soccer story from last night means I’M trying to turn it into a political argument.

        I introduced neither politics NOR an argument.

        MENSA students.

      • No, you awkwardly entered the conversation to make things “fair and balanced”

        Congrats. You’ve achieved what you set out to do.

  13. he was taken out pretty close to after the penalty incidents, thats really non material to me though.

    The issue is he just flat stinks, and has for a long time, it’s amazing that he still has a job. The announcers last night were talking about leader on the team etc, but that only gets you so far when there are a few really weak links.

    Kudos to Ives for writing an article that calls out many of his more high profile recent blunders.

    I can only hope he somehow starts against the USA!

  14. Did the Redbulls have any subs after the penalty/penalty box infraction?

    Why was he not taking out immediately? You have to send a message to your team. Especially as a young manager.

    Had they used up all of their subs at that point?


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