MLS- Portland Timbers

Timbers' Cooper seeks return to 2008 MLS form




Much of Kenny Cooper's soccer career, from the U.S. to Europe, has been defined by potential and promise that was deflated by injury.

But the big striker, still young at 26, had one very memorable season in MLS in 2008. He scored 18 goals and played in all 30 regular-season games for FC Dallas, winning Comeback Player of the Year, Best XI and All-Star honors. 

Cooper was transferred to Germany's 1860 Munich in mid-season 2009, but didn't finish out his three-year contract and by the end of last year, his time in Germany had run out. The expansion Portland Timbers were quick to sign Cooper, and he returned to MLS in January of this year.

The Timbers hope Cooper makes the impact and splash for which they signed him. Though he wasn't ultimately named team captain, Cooper wore the armband during preseason training in Arizona, and he feels he has something to prove.

"I'm definitely hungry to improve and to do well," Cooper said. "I think I'm in a great place, in a city that loves the game so much. I'm excited to play for (Timbers coach) John Spencer, who has a lot of great experience in the league and also as a player… it's a great group with great character."

Cooper will bring a wealth of experience and a presence up front; he'll be counted on a great deal for scoring right away, as the Timbers have lost forward Bright Dike for what could be the entire season with a torn Achilles. Attacking midfielder Darlington Nagbe is also coming off of a sports hernia and is only now running lightly.

"I started my pro career out of high school and I do feel like I've had a lot of great experiences," Cooper said. "At the same time I do feel like I'm young at 26 and I hope that my best years are ahead of me. I'm so happy to be here in Portland, to be in a city where the game is so well-embraced and where the team is so well-supported."

Portland figures to have a bigger and more raucous following than Cooper saw in Dallas, but he followed FCD's run to the MLS Cup final last season from afar.

"I was definitely really happy for them, really happy for (Coach) Schellas (Hyndman)," Cooper said. "He's a great coach and a great person… I'm really happy for my former teammates that they had that great success last year."

Cooper enjoyed the chance to play in Dallas, where he spent much of his youth. He's glad that he has been able to perform in front of family and friends in Texas and also live the life of the foreigner in another country but says Portland is home for him now. He's already taken in the views of Mt. Hood and tried a few restaurants.

"Just a great opportunity to come to a team that has incredible support," Cooper said. "I crave to be in an environment where you feel like the game is important and people really love it."

  • DC Josh

    Kenny Cooper reminds me of a poor man’s version of Kevin Davies. A battering ram who can finish, except Kenny has better feet than Kevin.


  • jonk

    Typically the “poor man’s version” comparison only works when two guys play the game the same way. I would consider them equally skilled overall, but considering they don’t play the position the same way it seems silly to compare them that directly.


  • Aaron in StL

    A battering ram that doesn’t throw his weight around. Had he developed a physically imposing style to go along with his size, he could have really made an impact w/the Nats.


  • socnow

    Good luck to Kenny Cooper this year. Can’t wait to see him and the Timbers play in person!


  • masterandcommand

    I’m really hoping that Cooper does well but I’m not too sure about the quality of service he’ll be getting.


  • Tank721

    Hopefully he’ll be back to form and get a few call ups for wc qualifying I did like the tandem between him and Jozey, though it wasn’t many games


  • Judging Amy

    Kenny was a beast for Dallas in MLS, but I he never convinced me at the Nats level. His career in Europe seemed marred by a lot of unlucky breaks. I think and hope he’ll do well in Portland.

    Agree with those stating he never quite learned to use his massive frame.


  • mikeandike

    In other news:

    Sacha Klestjan seeks return to 2008 form

    Freddy Adu seeks return to 2007 form

    Eddie Johnson seeks return to 2005 form

    Fobbie Findley seeks form


  • Mhat

    Hahaha, green with envy in the Emerald City? You’re not really in the position to make fun of “atrocious jerseys” are you?


  • Bakasama

    Well I guess Seattle has the kits to hold up those man boobs. Gotta love they have the built in bra.


  • Emerald_City_Jason

    My, my, such a touchy bunch today. I’ve no problem with Kenny Cooper, his man boobs, or his love handles.


  • Emerald_City_Jason

    So your theory is that noticing love handles means someone is gay? Interesting values…


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