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New York City FC adds fullback depth with trade for Eric Miller from Minnesota United

The 26-year old Miller is expected to be the primary backup to Anton Tinnerholm at right back.

Aug 18, 2018; Frisco, TX, USA; Minnesota United defender Eric Miller (30) in action during the game against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

New York City FC  Monday announced the acquisition of veteran defender Eric Miller from Minnesota United in exchange for $50,000 in general allocation money.

Miller is the final depth cog for the points-per-game leaders in the Eastern Conference. With homegrown fullback Joe Scally sidelined for an extended period following hip surgery, City has been in the market for a quality right back to support Anton Tinnerholm.

The Montreal Impact drafted the 26-year-old Miller out of Creighton University in 2014. Following two seasons and 30 appearances with the Impact, he was traded to the Colorado Rapids, where he appeared in 56 matches over two seasons.

Miller was named the Rapids’ defensive player of the year in 2017.

The Rapids traded Miller to Minnesota, where he played in 24 games for the Loons over two seasons prior to his arrival in New York City.

“One of our goals during the summer transfer window was to add depth at the right back position and Eric is a player who can come in and immediately strengthen our team,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a club statement. “He’s a versatile player who performs well in different positions which gives our roster added flexibility when playing varying systems.”

Head coach Dome Torrent had deemed Scally the understudy to Tinnerholm after observing his quality in training sessions earlier this year.

“He will play this year — 100%,” Torrent said before Scally’s injury.

In the absence of Tinnerholm, Torrent has been forced to use Juan Pablo Torres on the right side at the back.  Torres is a midfielder and had never played fullback until his indoctrination during training sessions in early June. 

The 20-year-old Torres featured in a pair of U.S. Open Cup matches, the 4-1 triumph over North Carolina FC and the penalty-kick loss against Orlando City.

Meanwhile, Tinnerholm has played every minute of the regular season for NYCFC, which averages 1.75 points per game. City trails the first-place Philadelphia Union by four points and has four games in hand.

Miller grew up in Woodbury, Minn., and was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year for the Gopher State before attending Creighton.

He has 110 MLS appearances in the regular season and started four playoff matches for the Rapids in 2016 when they finished runners-up in the Supporters’ Shield race.

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