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Report: Tyler Miller’s future at LAFC uncertain

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A possible changing of the guard at goalkeeper?

MLS: Chicago Fire at Los Angeles FC Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A report from The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal on Friday included the tidbit that Los Angeles Football Club goalkeeper Tyler Miller is out of contract and the club is not willing to “meet Miller’s terms for a desired new deal,” leading to speculation the player could be on the move this offseason.

Miller, 26, was LAFC’s first pick in the Expansion Draft ahead of their debut season in 2018. The starter most of the last two years, he’s made 61 league appearances and three MLS Cup Playoffs appearances for the black-and-gold.

While Miller has been the starter and has had some fantastic games for LAFC, he seemed to be an insurance policy in 2018, with Luis Lopez the likely projected starter until he was sidelined nearly half the season by injury and sent packing at season’s end.

This year, Miller entered as the undiputed starter, but LAFC gave him real competition in Pablo Sisniega, who himself had never played a full professional game, but who was paid considerably more than Miller.

Miller’s 2019 season until the Gold Cup was outstanding, as he was in a real groove and LAFC were on their way to the best defensive performance in the league for the season. He was called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team for the Gold Cup, but he was the only player on the roster to not play a minute, serving as the third string for the tournament, where the U.S. finished runner-up to Mexico.

Not having played for six weeks really screwed up his rhythm, and he arguably never recaptured it in 2019. He split time with Sisniega for the rest of the season, before Bob Bradley appeared to pick Miller in an effort to get the team back to their best by not alternating anymore.

The struggles on the back half of the season and Miller’s contract situation mean that a change is quite possible. That doesn’t mean he won’t return, and if the terms of the new CBA is similar to the current deal, if he’s given a “bona fide” offer by LAFC (usually a contract offer where the pay is slightly better than the previous deal) they could hold on to his rights in MLS. That would in turn mean he’d either have to sign the deal, go abroad, or ask LAFC to trade his rights to a new team.

There’s also the possibility Miller could be selected in the Expansion Draft if he is not protected by LAFC. And if LAFC aren’t planning to bring him back, dangling a starter-caliber player in front of Nashville SC and Inter Miami could prevent other players from being selected on the roster.

Stejskal’s reporting is sound, but there is still a chance this is a part of negotiations, airing out the situation in the press. Remember, we were told in late 2018 that Walker Zimmerman was possibly on his way to Europe, and he ended up signing a new deal with LAFC. We’ll have to see what the next few weeks hold for Miller and LAFC.

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