Kamal Miller reveals surprise at sudden Inter Miami exit

“It’s all pretty much out of nowhere. But I understand why it had to happen. It’s part of the business,” Kamal Miller said, reflecting on his move to Portland Timbers.

His Inter Miami departure came as a shock to many who follow MLS and who had been impressed by Miller’s performances in an upwardly-mobile Herons side. For all Miami’s attacking improvement after the mid-season arrival of Lionel Messi, their defence remained a concern.

Miller looked set to become the centrepiece around which the team’s defensive structure would be rebuilt. But the Miami front office decided otherwise and shipped him off to Portland, in return for a package of allocation money and an international roster spot.

“[I was] pretty surprised by the whole thing,” Miller admitted. “Especially after signing an extension and the club being so adamant on having me there. And with the upcoming World Cup 2026 they were like, ‘Oh, we’re so happy to have a player that is going to be there for Canada representing the club.’”

The Portland move sees Miller reunite with Phil Neville, the head coach who brought him to Inter Miami last year.

Miller recalls “crazy” Messi arrival

Still only 26 years old, Miller is now on the fourth club of his MLS career after stints with Orlando City and CF Montreal before making the move to Miami. He joined in April 2023 and quickly established himself as a key player for the Herons.

He played in every game in Miami’s Leagues Cup run, giving him a front row seat for Messi’s showstopping entrance.

“You can’t really write it or dream it any other way, especially his entrance, the way he came in and scored that free kick.”

“It was crazy… I was on the bench when he scored, I got subbed out that game and we’re just taking bets on the bench like, ‘You think he’ll score? And then boom, right over the wall. We were like, this is not real.”

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Lionel Messi’s arrival was a turning point, Miller says.KENA BETANCURAFP

Messi’s arrival was a turning point for Inter Miami, helping to take a team floundering at the bottom of the table to new heights. Miami were just embarking on the mid-season Leagues Cup campaign and, the squad strengthened by Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, used the competition as an opportunity to forget their disappointing league campaign.

“He came at a time when we were struggling in the league and as a group, we got together before he came and we’re like, ‘Leagues Cup is a perfect opportunity for us to start with a clean slate. Everyone starts on zero points and we can kind of rewrite the season.’

“Even before he got there, we committed as a team that we were going to give everything to win Leagues Cup. With the additions, obviously, it helped a lot, but overall it was a good ride.”


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