If at the beginning of the season, you would have told me the Whitecaps would be struggling mightily on defense, yet lighting it up offensively, I would have laughed and walked away.
Throw the phrase 'lead by Kenny Miller' in there, and I probably would've had you committed.
Yet, here we are, 14 matches into the season, and the Vancouver Whitecaps boast a powerful recent attack, an attack that has thrust Camilo, Russell Teibert and, yes, Kenny Miller firmly in the spotlight. Miller scored twice against the New England Revolution, two glorious markers that are currently up for MLS goal of the week (hint, hint). Not only that, Miller became just the second Whitecap to receive player of the week honors (Camilo was the first), and he's second on the team in goals, with 5. Consider that for a moment; 5 goals in just six matches because he did miss tons of time with a bothersome hamstring injury. Camilo has played 808 minutes this season, the most of any striker, and he is currently sitting on a solid six goals. Miller has played almost half that at 483 minutes, and he has just one less. Pretty freaking impressive. It's the kind of statistics the Whitecaps thought they were buying when they threw a million dollars at Miller to strap on a Whitecaps kit. It looked like a dismal move last year, and now it looks like a stroke of genius. Martin Rennie, who's been oft criticized for his roster management (and deservedly so) has brought in a veteran leader that can, and has, wear the armband, contribute offensively and do it all with a subtle, 'ah shucks' demeanor.
However, is this the Miller we can expect to see from here on out?
Last season, Miller's biggest problem (besides his finish) was that he often looked aimless on the pitch. Not that he didn't work hard; the guy absolutely flew to every corner of the turf of BC Place, trying his best to make things happen. However, he tried too hard, which often resulted in mistimed runs and setups killed before they had a chance to get started. That Miller, the Miller who was part of a dysfunctional group is, in my opinion, firmly in the review mirror. It wasn't just that he scored twice on the weekend (heck, they were up a man for most of the match), it was that he's been producing all season long. He started off the year with goals in the first two matches, then was lost to injury. His next couple of matches, he was clearly still getting into match fitness, trying his best to work out his wonky hamstring. I think it's safe to say it's better now.
Miller is also the recipient of some fortunate circumstances. Who were the cogs of the offensive machine last season? Barry Robson, the horribly inconsistent, petulant man child was supposedly the pulse of the midfield, while Darren Mattocks was the lone striker. Usually, the Whitecaps attack boiled down to one option; heave up a through ball and hope to God Mattocks could bring it down and score on a breakaway. Now, Miller has the emerging Russell Teibert and his world class set ups, and Camilo up top, an attacker that works better with runs up the pitch and possession, although he could stand to pass a bit more.
So, TL;DR, yes, Kenny Miller is rejuvenated and is every bit as good as advertised. Barring injury, he should be able to provide the Whitecaps with a consistent attack, something they haven't had since, well, ever. Now, Miller staying beyond this season--that's a question for another day.