I am typing this from my phone so please forgive the everything.
Apparently Kenny Miller is close to coming back! He’s missed the past I-can’t-look-it-up (did I mention I’m typing this from my phone?) with a stubborn hamstring injury but has been taking full training recently. A scare with him wearing an ice pack on his knee late last week doesn’t appear to bode ill; everybody I’d expect to know is saying he should be available for selection on Wednesday.
The Internet physiotherapists are saying that the Whitecaps should play it safe with Miller. His hamstring problem has already lasted longer than usual and he’s a key player, 33 years old, not one with whom we should take chances. Normally I would agree, in my own capacity as an Internet physiotherapist. Better safe than sorry, if only psychologically. There are fans convinced that the Whitecaps rushed Jay DeMerit back and cost him 99.9% of the 2013 season and/or that the Whitecaps rushed Miller back and made his hamstring worse. If Miller started Wednesday and the worst happened, even if just by coincidence, the knives would be out.
As I say, normally, I’d be all for easing Miller in. Normally. This week is not normal.
Wednesday is a Cup final, as close to must-win as you can get without actually being must-win. The Whitecaps could theoretically draw Montreal 0-0 and nick ’em on penalties, but realistically we’re going to need a goal, and up against a competent offensive team we’re probably going to need more than one. When he played earlier this year Miller was maybe Vancouver’s most valuable player, linking the midfield up with the attack in a manner we haven’t enjoyed since Martin Nash retired. The Whitecaps attack is mediocre, but adding Miller makes it almost fine.
If Miller can contribute to the game Wednesday then he must, regardless of the consequences. Winning the Voyageurs Cup is well worth sacrificing Miller for a few more weeks. It’s silverware, which is the entire reason we’re here. It’s a trophy, the Voyageurs Cup, which we have never won in twelve attempts while finishing runners-up six times. It’s our ticket to the CONCACAF Champions League. As I’ve been at pains to explain, the influx of allocation money would also allow us to improve the team; maybe not to the point of bringing in a new designated player but still meaningfully.
There are times where you’re cautious and conserve your strength, and there are times where you ride the horse to death. This is one of the latter times. If Miller is physically able to start he should do so and play until either he is unable to contribute or the game is won. The Whitecaps are not likely to have a bigger game than this all season. If Miller contributes 60 minutes to a win but it costs him the rest of the season, the Whitecaps come out ahead.