Tyler Miller has been to CenturyLink Field in Seattle probably more times than he can remember. Drafted with the 33rd overall pick by the Seattle Sounders in 2015, aside from a short stint in Germany, the goalkeeper spent the better part of three years in the Pacific Northwest.
When he returns to CenturyLink on Sunday with LAFC, he’ll go somewhere he’s never been.
“I’ve actually never been in the visiting locker room,” Miller said when asked about returning to Seattle.
The first pick by LAFC in the 2017 MLS Expansion Draft, Miller arrived in LA from Seattle with just two MLS appearances in his career. But the 6-foot-4 goalkeeper caught the eye of LAFC EVP of Soccer Operations and GM John Thorrington when Miller played for Northwestern and Thorrington was attending business school at the college. Now, the 24-year-old will be the likely starter in goal for LAFC in its historic opening match.
Oddly enough, when he found out his new team would start the season in Seattle, he was with a former teammate.
“I was actually sitting with [Sounders defender] Chad Marshall, and we thought it was really ironic,” Miller said. “We were talking and were like, ‘What are the odds that we end up playing against each other the first time?’ It was just a funny phenomenon that Seattle ended up being the first place that we’re going to be playing. And the fact that hopefully I’m going to be starting there will be a pretty awesome and surreal experience for me.”
In addition to Marshall, Miller continues to keep up friendships with many of his former Sounders teammates. One of which, Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan, ignited things on Twitter with this shot at Miller and his new team:
To which, Miller responded:
Asked about their Twitter feud now, just days before the two will meet again on the field, Miller is all business when it comes to his new team.
“I know a lot of it is just banter. A lot of it is silly jokes. But for me, I can’t let Cristian have the last word,” Miller said. “I got to let him know that we’re going to be putting in a pretty competitive game and we’re going there to win the game. So I can’t let him have that last word.”
In addition to Roldan, Miller has a few more people he’s excited to see once LAFC arrives in Seattle.
“My parents are flying in from New Jersey for the game. So I’ll spend a little time with them. Then going to stop over at Jordan’s house to check in on him and see how he’s doing,” Miller said, referring to former teammate Jordan Morris, who found out his season was over due to an ACL injury suffered in the Sounders’ CONCACAF Champions League Match with Salvadorian side Santa Tecla.
But once Miller steps on the pitch with LAFC, he’ll be focus on one goal.
“With the whole Seattle organization, the staff, and my friends that are on the team, at the end of the day, I step on that field and I’m representing LA, and I’m there to do everything I need to do to win the game for LA,” Miller said. “We can be friends after the game and before the game. But in the game, I’m going to be competing as hard as I can and do everything I can to help LA win.”