As promised, Costa Rica head coach Paolo Wanchope has named a 23-man squad for his team's upcoming June friendlies against Colombia and Spain. The New York Red Bulls' Roy Miller is on the roster.
Wanchope has indicated this is also his preferred selection for July's Gold Cup, stating the preceding matches will be used to refine his thinking about starting lineups for the CONCACAF Championship this summer. So we can congratulate Roy on his selection for another regional tournament. Barring injury, it would appear the longest-tenured player on the current RBNY roster will be furthering his international career this summer.
The call-up adds some pressure to the Red Bulls' beleaguered back line. But it's not as bad as it could have been.
Costa Rica plays Colombia on June 6 in Argentina, one day after RBNY's scheduled game against Houston Dynamo. If Miller were missing for that match, the Red Bulls' defensive resources would be severely tested: the team will already be without Damien Perrinelle (suspension for yellow card accumulation), Matt Miazga (U-20 World Cup duty), and quite likely Ronald Zubar (interminable injury troubles).
Fortunately, club and country have reached an agreement: Wanchope has stated Miller (and Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio) won't link up with the squad until it heads to Spain for its June 11 fixture.
Paulo Wanchope: "Álvaro Saborío y Roy Miller no estarán ante Colombia, llegarán a España" #EscenarioDeportivo— Deportes Monumental (@RadioMonumental) June 1, 2015
That agreement eases the burden on RBNY's coaching staff - Miller could play in Spain and still be back in time to suit up for the team's US Open Cup match on June 16. And he will be available for the Dynamo game. There are no MLS games to worry about between the Houston match on June 5 and Vancouver's visit to Red Bull Arena on June 20.
Still, involvement in the Gold Cup could mean Miller misses up to four MLS matches: Costa Rica has a friendly scheduled against Mexico on June 27 (the day before RBNY's 6/28 trip to NYC FC); the games against Columbus Crew (July 4), New England (July 11) and Orlando City SC (July 18) coincide with the CONCACAF tournament's group stage and quarterfinals. So there are selection headaches ahead for Jesse Marsch, though he surely knew the Gold Cup would put some pressure on his roster.
This is, of course, an honor for Miller, who has retained Wanchope's confidence despite just four appearances for his club so far this season. For RBNY, the call-up might arguably be a benefit: Roy has dropped out of the starting lineup since Kemar Lawrence's form has effectively demanded the Jamaican be regarded as the first-choice left-back - if Miller can work his way to peak form and fitness with Costa Rica, that will surely help the Red Bulls in maintaining high-level competition for places and squad depth as the MLS season starts to close in on the playoffs and results are increasingly important.
But in the short-term, for something like four of RBNY's next seven MLS matches, Miller's probable absence will add further pressure to Jesse Marsch's game-planning. Especially if other players - notably, Karl Ouimette (Canada) and Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica) - find themselves similarly honored by their national teams.