MLS- Portland Timbers

Soler offers reasoning on Cooper trade

Cooper (Getty Images)


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The New York Red Bulls turned some heads by trading a 2013 first-round pick and allocation money to the Portland Timbers for veteran striker Kenny Cooper, a move intriguing for a number of reasons, none more than the fact that New York already has a full stable of first-team strikers in Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers and Juan Agudelo.

Despite the transaction fueling speculation that Agudelo may be hitting the transfer market, Red Bulls sporting director Erik Soler offered a staunch denial that the club was shopping the 19-year-old forward.

"No we're not," Soler told reporters at the MLS SuperDraft. "There's been interest in Juan ever since I came here. There's a lot of clubs that want him, and at some stage he'll probably go abroad, but I think the time isn't there yet."

Instead, Soler gave simple reasoning for making the move: Agudelo will be busy with international duties this year, Rodgers' U.S. work visa has not yet been renewed and the club did not want to be left short-handed at the position.

"We have a situation where we have Juan Agudelo where he will play for the Olympic team, he's going to be playing qualifiers, he's going to be away with the (senior) national team the way it looks, so he's going to be away for a long time," Soler said. "We simply need to ensure that we don't get into a situation where we have injuries and have no one to put up top."

Rodgers' situation should work itself out, Soler said, but the club does not know for sure yet whether his visa will be renewed, and until it does, it cannot take his place in the lineup for granted. He expects to have a resolution within the next three weeks.

"We have to be open to the fact that Luke Rodgers had a one-year visa and that visa isn't renewed at this very moment," Soler said. "We think it will be, but it's not for sure.

"We think there's a good chance, but he had the (criminal) record before he came. He's been absolutely fantastic when he's been here. There's no reason we think not to have the visa, but still it's not on our table and we don't want to take any risk."  

Soler added that he is confident in Cooper being able to contribute in New York, despite his inconsistent play for Portland last season. Cooper is a player that has long been on Soler's radar, and years after initially chasing him, the former U.S. national team striker is now on his roster.

"Kenny Cooper is a player that I tried to move out of the U.S. five years ago to Rosenborg in Norway when he went to 1860 Munich," Soler said. "He's a good player that will suit us. He's big. He's not really a target man, but he's good with his feet, he can move around and he can score goals." 

The Cooper acquisition was the second of the day for the Red Bulls, who officially announced the addition of Swedish centerback Markus Holgersson as well. While Holgersson should provide cover if Tim Ream's proposed move to Bolton goes through, he might not be the only answer at the position. Soler said another contingency plan is in place if Ream bolts to England. 

"We should have an announcement on that coming up should Tim leave," Soler said.

  • Adi

    There are very few tall strikers that are very good mainly because they are not as aguile and can’t play the ball very well. Cooper is similar and Portland is very lucky they got rid of him. Another example, is Gomez who may shoot many goals in the Bundesliga but on the German national team just about always gets outclassed by Klose.


  • Tommy Mac

    Thank you Mr Soler…I mean “gus”. Just like the other erroneous reports about current NYRB – DeRo not being notified of his trade by any senior management, Ream being handed a “contract extension” by Soler on a team bus, Henry fighting with Backe in the locker room, etc etc – are also untrue. Oh yeah, and Erik Soler didn’t lead IK Start into relegation and near bankruptcy in Norway… Sad thing is this train has also already wrecked.


  • chris

    That raccoon sounds interesting. Anybody know a restaurant in the Ironbound that does feijoadacoon?


  • Johnny Ramone

    Clearly you have an agenda, Sir. You may be able to get a job working at SBI if this keeps up.


  • Dax

    Hasn’t Backe stated publicly on more than one occasion that he doesn’t consider Juan Agudelo a striker, and that his future with RBNY will be on the wing?

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see RBNY trade Agudelo in 2012. Perhaps he is MLS’s solution to Chinggate:

    MON: Agudelo
    HOU: Ching
    RBNY: allocation $


  • dan

    Where the hell do they get the money for this?




    If they can get rid of Marquez then they can buy Ballack for that mid and really solidify it


  • McCarty

    As a college student who group up 5 minutes from Harrison and now goes to college in Montreal.

    I love love love that idea, as long as Agudelo would get time. Agudelo and Braun could work very well together.


  • Joamiq

    This explanation still doesn’t make any sense. Or rather, it justifies an acquisition, but not Cooper. Why would you take on such a big salary and give up that much allocation money for a guy who is 4th on the depth chart at forward? Even if you expect him to get minutes, your resources are limited and you have needs elsewhere. We still don’t have an answer at GK, we have no cover anywhere along the backline, and all we have off the bench in midfield are Ballouchy and McCarty, neither of whom is particularly inspiring. In light of all that, again, why give up so much for a 4th striker? You’d be much better off getting a lesser forward and spending some of that precious cap space elsewhere.

    If Soler has some kind of plan that will plug all of these holes under the salary cap, then OK. But if we start the season without a complete squad with an expensive 4th striker sitting on the bench, I’m going to be pissed.


  • Joamiq

    I agree that the Red Bulls play much better with Rodgers, but Agudelo scored 6 goals with only 12 starts. That’s not bad.


  • Johnny Ramone

    That is the the singlemost ridiculous comment not posted by a Sounders fan. Why would RBNY goalong with that when they can sell him abroad for more money & keep him from playing against them. If he’s in the US, he’s at RBNY.


  • Timber Jim

    You will find that Cooper’s foot skills are about one-quarter as good as he thinks they are. He’s incredibly frustrating to watch as he tries to dribble by players, losing the ball over and over.

    And his movement off the ball is good, just aimless.

    I’m so happy you think he brings good value. I’m laughing all the way to Jeld-Wen Field.


  • Tommy Mac

    I do indeed have an agenda (as a season ticket holder last year that gave it up this year, and as a Jersey soccer player my entire life)….to have a quality franchise in NY. But please argue any of my points if you are able to defend Soler and Backe, I would love to hear some defensible arguments. Perhaps the Ream contract, Henry dissent, and IK Start disaster are not worthy of posts on this board?? On a separate note, I agreed with Ive’s rankings of the MLS Draft on Fox Sports….NYRB dead last. DISGRACE TO ALL PROUD METROS FANS.


  • todd

    Never believe anything Soler says about a player. He and he coach have no credibility. He planned on keeping Kandji and Tchani and all the others too. The Red Bulls will never win more than they lose until Soler and Backe are fired.


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