Lots of folks are loving life in Vancouver after the Whitecaps opened the head coaching tenure of Carl Robinson with a 4-1 throttling of New York this weekend, and you can count striker Kenny Miller among them.
The 34-year-old Scotsman scored twice in the win, and his postgame comments made sure to make mention that he’ll be out of his contract in June and would really like to stick around.
“Listen, it’s one game. As I said before, we don’t get carried away. It’s fantastic, we’re going to go away and enjoy it – but it would be great to be off the market early doors.”
Of course, he’ll want to strike while his boots are hot. Miller is a Designated Player, bearing the same mark as Pedro Morales and Matias Laba. So how long of a deal would it take to keep the elder of the three (Morales is 28 and Laba is 22)? That will play a big role in any decision on his future.
He’s making $1.1 million and has netted 12 times in 37 appearances for the Whitecaps. He’s three goals away from 200 in a 585-appearance career that saw him play for Rangers, Celtic, Bursaspor, Wolverhampton, Derby County and Hibernian before arriving in Vancouver.
Presumably Miller would rather get an extension that pushes his deal through this season and maybe next, and could play the “going home” hand if things don’t work out before June. He retired from international soccer after scoring in Scotland’s 3-2 loss to England last August, so his only business is club soccer.
The smart money’s on Vancouver getting him to stick around through at least this season, but manager Carl Robinson used a wary approach when discussing Miller’s desires in late February. It’s something monitor, especially if the Scot keeps scoring.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday