Ex-Leeds man Mika Vayrynen tweets delight at LA Galaxy debut, earns praise from coach

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The Finnish midfielder received plaudits from head coach Bruce Arena after making his MLS bow in the weekend's 2-2 draw at the Portland Timbers.

LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has hailed the impact of debutant Mika Vayrynen in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at the Portland Timbers.

The Finnish midfielder came on in the 62nd-minute for Baggio Husidic with his side 1-0 down and proceeded to put in a performance which should have cemented his spot in the starting line-up going forward.

As well as getting involved in the build up to LA’s equaliser just three minutes after his introduction, the former Leeds United man completed 32 of 35 passes during the final 28 minutes of the match, prompting Arena to sing his praises to the club’s official website at the final whistle.

“Mika played very well,” he said. “Obviously it’s going to take him some time to get acclaimed and adjusted to our team but it was a very impressive showing on his part today.”

Vayrynen himself seemed just as delighted with his MLS bow, which saw LA steal a last gasp point from their Western Conference rivals through fellow substitute Alan Gordon’s 92nd-minute header.

The striker knocked in Stefan Ishizaki’s cross after Fanendo Adi had restored Portland’s lead just two minutes earlier and his new teammate took to Twitter after the match to celebrate the comeback.

Vayrynen, 33, signed for the MLS Cup holders earlier this month after impressing as a trialist during their preseason tour of Europe, where he scored the game-clinching goal in a 1-0 win at Shamrock Rovers.

He had been out of contract since leaving HJK Helsinki this winter but, with the team needing more options in the centre of the park before Steven Gerrard’s summer arrival from Liverpool, the 58-times capped international should serve as a solid stopgap in the meantime.

Leeds fans could be forgiven for not thinking much of him, after a disappointing seven-month spell at Elland Road during the 2011-12 season, but, judging from his first MLS appearance, the former Heerenveen star could well have an important role to fill in the Galaxy’s bid for a fourth league title in five seasons.

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