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Eric Miller appears to be final piece of NYCFC roster

Miller provides cover for Anton Tinnerholm, who has played every minute of NYCFC’s 20 games this season.

May 4, 2019; Saint Paul, MN, Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota United defender Eric Miller (4) during a game between Minnesota United and Seattle Sounders at Allianz Field. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — Although it’s still another six days until the secondary transfer window closes, it appears Eric Miller is the final piece of the puzzle for New York City FC‘s roster.

Depth at right back became the No. 1 priority for NYCFC coach Dome Torrent when 16-year-old Joe Scally went down with a longterm hip injury two months ago.

There could have been a few stopgaps, including Juan Pablo Torres, but Torrent wanted a true right back and began his search.

He said he watched a number of Minnesota United games over the course of the last two years and Miller ticked off many of the boxes he wanted in that position. NYCFC pulled the trigger on a trade for the 26-year-old Monday, sending $50,000 in General Allocation Money to the Loons.

“He can play in five in the back because he has quality. He’s able to keep the ball and pass the ball,” Torrent said. “He’s a clever player. He’s a good defender. Even he can play with three in the back because he can play like a center back as well.

“When he arrives in the 18-yard box his crosses are really good. I think he’s the right player for us when we decide to play with another player at right back.”

Miller has 110 matches of MLS experience under his belt since joining the Montreal Impact in 2014. He’s started five of the six matches he’s appeared in this year with his last league appearance coming in a 3-2 win over the Impact July 6. It was his only MLS appearance during the last two months.

Miller’s biggest attribute will be giving Anton Tinnerholm a much-needed breather from time to time. Tinnerholm has started all 20 of NYCFC’s regular-season matches, logging 1,800 minutes. A year ago, he started 31 matches and played 2,697 minutes.

The last time he played less than 90 minutes in a match was July 29, 2018 when he was subbed off after 60 minutes of a 3-1 loss at Seattle.

Torrent said he always tells players to put their hands up if they’re tired, but Tinnerholm never raises his hand. 

“This means he wants to play, but the risk is not good for us because we have to be focused in August and September. You need Anton in a top level,” Torrent said.

So when will Miller, who first trained with his new teammates Tuesday, make his NYCFC debut? That’s likely to come in a week’s time when the Cityzens host the Houston Dynamo. They take on Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium three days later.

Although Torrent said he won’t rule out any other activity before the widow closes, Miller’s addition gives NYCFC depth at every position, with several players versatile enough to play multiple positions in multiple formations.

“This is the reason why my feeling is really good, because we can change our shape,” Torrent said. “We have enough players in position.”




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