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Cooper scores controversial winner to lead FC Dallas past Dynamo

KennyCooperFCD (Getty)


Kenny Cooper reminded everyone Sunday why FC Dallas brought him back in the fold with some late game heroics to stoke the fires of the Texas Derby.

With time running out in a tie game, Cooper found space behind the Dynamo back line and after controlling a Luis Michel ball, smashed it into the near corner to give Dallas a 3-2 win; their second of the 2013 campaign.

The goal, however, was not without controversy. Cooper failed on his attempted header and the ball found what looked to be his bicep before settling to the ground. With no whistle, Cooper’s first goal stood and Dallas was left to celebrate pulling out a win in a wild, physical affair.

“I honestly don’t know,” Cooper told reporters about his 90th-minute goal. “I’m not sure. I may have gone to head it and somehow it ended falling right in front of me. I’m honestly not sure.

“It just feels great to beat them.”

Cooper’s goal gave Dallas their fourth win in Texas Derby history but was the tip of the iceberg as far as him being a thorn in Houston’s side.

Cooper went to ground in the 33rd minute when Boniek Garcia attempted to strip the ball, drawing the foul that set up the 40-yard Michel free kick that found George John who, with some assistance from Bobby Boswell, headed the ball home to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.

The foul drew the ire of Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear, who felt the striker and some of his teammates went to ground rather easily on the day.

“I thought the first few minutes looked really good,” the Dynamo coach told reporters after the match. “And then a big guy out in the field threw himself to the ground and gets a free kick. And they got a goal out of it.

“When you have guys that don’t even get looked at, don’t get touched, falling on the ground looking for fouls, it makes me want to throw up.”

Cooper’s winner rescued Dallas after the club saw a two-goal lead evaporate due to a stirring Dynamo comeback led by their substitutes.

Down 2-0 at halftime, the Dynamo switched to a 4-3-3 and got a boost from their subs heading down the stretch, most notably from newcomer Andrew Driver. The midfielder opened his MLS account in stylish fashion crushing a Kofi Sarkodie cross off the crossbar and into goal to cut the deficit in half in the 79th minute.

The energy seemed contagious as two of Driver’s fellow subs Brian Ching, who entered for the injured Will Bruin, and Cam Weaver got into the act and helped bring Houston level in the 83rd minute. The target forwards work down the sideline looked to set up Driver in front of goal. The midfielder failed to reach Weaver’s ball, but Brad Davis was not far behind and the US international cleaned up the spill to give Houston what looked to a point on the day that ultimately was not to be.

Houston was in the two goal hole due to some suspect defending on set pieces in the first half.

Two minutes after John’s 33rd-minute header, Houston was the victim of a self-inflicted wound when Andrew Jacobson shook free from Ricardo Clark to one-time a David Ferreria corner kick to put the Dynamo in a 2-0 halftime hole.

“We had spells in the first half when we were good but gave up two goals on set pieces, which is uncharacteristic of this team,” Bobby Boswell said.

The lead was especially tough for Houston to take considering the visitors had the first real chance of the game.

After 20 minutes of even play, Giles Barnes broke past the Dallas back line to head on goal. Instead of slotting a ball across a charging Raul Fernandez to a wide open Bruin, Barnes chose to take a shot right at the Dallas ‘keeper, killing the chance.

Dallas did not miss their chances and their set piece success and Cooper’s heroics were enough to earn bragging rights over their rivals to the south for the next year.



  1. Houston hasn’t been a good road team in recent years. Their entire strategy is geared towards using the lack of width on the intentionally striped 70 yeard wide hime field to pressure and overwhelm opponents who are used to having 75 yards to work with. The problem with that on the road is 1) it’s harder to apply that kind of pressure on the and 2) the other team can use the width to go around all the pressure in the middle third. A lot of passes that are great through balls on a 75 yard field end up being cut out on the Dynamo’s home 70 yard field because there simply isn’t enough space to move the defense and open up the slot.

  2. It takes the Orange several games to get their act together. I think they found a teriffic addition with Driver. the 4-4-3 will work with Cummings forward and Driver as one of the mids, preferably wide. Moffat should ride the bench for his play of late. This team is evolving and we will see what happens when Cummings is part of the fold. I see Ashe, Boswell, Taylor, Sarkodie (back), Davs, Clark, Crevelle, Driver (Mids), Barnes, Bruin, Cummins (Forward). We have Ching, Moffat, Bruner, Weaver off the bench. Sounds good to me. We’ll see what happens.

    • One thing the Dynamo need to start watching on the trades is how healthy the players we get are. It doesn’t matter if Clark is former USMNT pool if he’s knee-knacked. Ditto Cummings from Jamaica, Carr, and on and on.

      I’m not sure what flexiblity we have at F in the summer because the depth is Ching and Weaver. Is Ching going to quit or retire midseason? Fat chance. So right now we have a bunch of injured, old, and immobile Fs, with the draft pick and Barnes the mid in reserve. Bluntly, this is what happens when you rotely bring back too many old vets. How does he plan on scoring?

    • But I do like Driver and hope we can start moving to 3 attacking mid formations that place the onus on the other team to defend, instead of Clark + Moffat, which places pressure on us to defend, and squeezes out attacking mid talent.

  3. How about Kinnear pointing the finger at himself for taking his foot off the tactical gas? We were getting our tails kicked in a 442, we go down 2-0, he out of desperation pulls a defender, plays 352 or 343, we get two goals from Driver’s industry…..what does he do? Back to 442, drop Garcia back, Dallas starts going back the other way like they did the first 70, gets their chance, bam. IMO you step on their neck and if offense is what is working you roll with it.

    Yes, it was probably a handball, but stuff happens when you let the other team back into games. It could easily have been 2-2, but we were outplayed most of that game and handed it back to them at the end through shoddy coaching. People like to tout Kinnear when the machine gets rolling, but until he has all his moving parts in place, I think you see his weaknesses in games like this. Too much caution, not enough tactical balance. This team needs a fast forward and it usually takes him weeks to figure it out.

    Or how about sending out the same tired lineup more or less as the midweek? Maybe the soccer gods are telling you something.

    Or how about, why as we struggle to score is Driver sitting the bench when every time he comes in, things happen? Drop one of the DMs for him. Or push him wide and Davis middle. Emphasize offense instead of defense. Same complaint people have with Klinsi’s central midfield. Houston has a lot of middie talent right now, it just needs to be used right.

    One reason for our goal dearth is the middies are the ones scoring. Bruin has been dry and now injured, and worse, we’re about to drop down to Ching and Weaver, neither of whom seem to be good MLS strikers anymore. Cummings won’t be an option for the coming weekend. Carr is out. Kandji is gone. That’s why we’re not scoring. You have to have someone to punch it in. Ironically, Dallas, who went out and signed some forwards, was the one getting frontline production yesterday. Kinnear is often blase about staffing forward and yesterday I thought it showed. No punch. Everything from the midfield.

    • Yes! We had Dallas falling apart and once we tied it up at 2 we pulled back, dropping Boniek into a defensive role. Ultimately, we got what we deserved.

  4. Understandable that Kinnear was a little upset, but the diving comments seemed a little odd. Calling Cooper a cheat seemed a little much considering the number of times his team intentionally fouled Ferreira whenever he touched the ball. I don’t blame him for that tactic. Ferreira doesn’t respond too well to physical play, but Kinnear sounded like a very sore loser.

    Out of all games this weekend this was surely the best of them and one that MLS was hoping for rather than those dull 0-0’s elsewhere.

    • I agree that Kinnear’s comments seem strange which is why, based on Kinnear’s history, I suspect this has something to do with what he is trying to do psychologically with the team. I have no idea what that would be though. I’ve just seen it before where he does something like explode on the team and then go to the press and blame everything on something ridiculous…maybe sending the message that he has their back and everything stays in the locker room. I remember in 2007 a similar incident in DC.

    • I thought it was unnecessary commentary from an upset coach who blew the rivalry game at the end. This game often gets heated and Cooper has scored plenty of goals in the rivalry, two goals on opening day one year.

      Personally, I’d put more effort into patching the defense, which is not working. I think DC and the home CCL game were anomalies. I think it’s a nightmare 4 because Taylor and Boz are not mobile and Ashe and Sarkodie aren’t steady defenders or distributors.

      I see this as a summer repair job. As we often do, we had a poor winter on the market, so we’ll have to fix it this summer.

  5. On the Chivas red card, they player left his foot in and purposely kicked the player in the knee. Salazar was right on top of the play, good call.

    From the approaching camera angle you don’t see it because the feet are blocked by the prone players body but from Salazar’s side view it was obvious.

  6. I don’t mind the missed handball for two reasons. First, Dallas’ third goal was called off for offside and while calls like that are hit and missed all over the world, the fact is that the player was onside and the goal should have counted. The second reason is that for about 80 minutes the Dynamo players found themselves uncharacteristically outhustled by Dallas and more specifically, Kenny Cooper, who is one of the laziest bs players this league has ever seen. I’m referring to his career which has featured a refusal to get back and defend and his knack for trying to take the easy way out by diving on the slightest contact by a defender half his weight. However, today, Kenny Cooper tracked back and defended and hustled all over the field while the Dynamo players looked heavy footed and like it was just too much work. Today the Dynamo didn’t deserve the point. I do suspect we will see a rejuvenated side against Vancouver next weekend and the unbeaten streak at home will remain very much alive.

  7. Not much the official can do about that call. Unless he was positioned in the net itself, the official’s view was shielded by Cooper’s body.

  8. In real time you couldn’t tell the ball bounced off Cooper’s bicep. On the replay it was fairly obvious. Cooper’s body angle may have blocked both the Ref and AR’s view. It’s a tough call and the refs had a millisecond to make it. I can’t blame them, too much. At least on TV it didn’t look like Houston argued the call.

  9. Dynamo fan here. Sad my boys lost, but you won’t find me whining about the reffing. The loss starts and ends with the fact that the Dynamo let Dallas beat them at their own game, which is dead ball situations. We’re also lucky we didn’t go into halftime down 3-0.

    Also, who can blame Kenny Cooper? He honestly attempted to play the ball with his head, missed, still managed to corral the ball w/o a blatant grab for it, and finished. You honestly expect him to stop and tell the refs it shouldn’t have counted? Please.

    If nothing else, this gives us a chance to win back El Capitan next season. The rivalry was becoming a little Houston-heavy.

    • I will complain about the refs and the call. But our dead ball situation is the greater priority. Scoring off corner and free kicks are as much a Houston staple as the color orange.
      As a fan that saw KC or LA as better rivals, this game has put fcd back on the list. Enjoy the canon boys.

  10. In Texas, the officials miss Cooper’s handball on the gamewinner, and in Los Angeles, Chivas USA’s Velazquez is shown a red card for a nonexistent foul and Chivas have to play 50+ minutes with 10 men.

    Not a good day at the office for the MLS referees, even by MLS’s low standards for officiating.

    • “Chivas USA’s Velazquez is shown a red card for a nonexistent foul and Chivas have to play 50+ minutes with 10 men.”

      In Mexico, that’s a red. Chivas wanted the Mexican experience, they got it.

      • P-E-R-F-E-C-T, on that note, when will central american refs be disallowed from officiating. i get remember a single concaff game that they didn’t totally make a mockery of the game.

    • Cooper’s goal made up for the blown offside call that denied Jackson a goal earlier for Dallas.

      Actually, Cooper’s goal was fine because he took it down with his clavicle and the ball barely brushed his forearm on the way down without changing the trajectory in a significant manner and the arm was in a natural position.

      • You were watching the wrong game apparently. It was the game this last Sunday where Jackson’s torso was past the last defender, and Cooper flopped for a free kick that led to a goal and brought down the ball clearly with his bicep.

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