The LA Galaxy's new midfielder could be in the line-up for Saturday's visit of the Houston Dynamo after an excellent second-half performance last weekend.
After an impressive MLS debut in last weekend’s 2-2 draw at the Portland Timbers, LA Galaxy midfielder Mika Vayrynen looks in line to start Saturday night’s visit of the Owen Coyle-led Houston Dynamo.
The Finland international came on in the 62nd-minute against the Timbers with his side 1-0 down and proceeded to put in a game-changing performance, helping set up the first equaliser just three minutes after his introduction, before the visitors would have to come from behind again at the death to steal a point.
As well as completing 32 of his 35 passes, the former Leeds United man looked like the perfect replacement for Marcelo Sarvas, who was traded to the Colorado Rapids this winter, proving just as daring going forward and tough in the tackle as the departed Brazilian.
Head coach Bruce Arena more than impressed with his 28-minute run-out and, while there are other options to fill in in midfield ahead of Steven Gerrard’s summer arrival from Liverpool, his comments to MLSsoccer.com suggest that the Finn could be valuable makeweight in the meantime.
“[We liked] his passing, his movement,” the former US national team boss said. “We like to pass the ball and pass it quickly and get it to the right guys. I think he's pretty good at that.
“Still early with us, and it's going to take him some time, but I thought his first showing was real good.”
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.
After spells with Eredivisie clubs PSV Eindhoven and Heerenveen, Leeds and HJK Helsinki back home, the veteran admits that the David Beckham-effect had left him keen to experience life in MLS for some time.
“Obviously, since [David] Beckham was here, everybody started talking about MLS a little bit more, and I heard a lot of good things about the competition from [former MLS players in Europe],” he told MLSsoccer.com. “The last two years, I really wanted to come here. ... I wasn't expecting to come to LA Galaxy – and once I heard about the camp [in Dublin] and from them this might be a possibility, I was very excited.
“If you want to come to MLS, this is the club where you want to end up.”
After downing the Chicago Fire 2-0 in their season opener and drawing in Portland, LA’s third game of the 2015 seasons sees them taken on Western Conference rivals Houston and Vayrynen is hoping he did enough in his MLS bow to earn the start.
I'm pretty satisfied with the way I came in,” he added. “Had a lot of touches on the ball and kept the ball moving, but the other guys made it easy for me. They were always in a good position, and it was easy for me to just pass the ball and go from there.
“Maybe [vision is] the one big part in my game. You know, I'm not maybe the fastest guy in the team, so you have to have the vision and you have to be able to anticipate what's happening in the next situation.”