Portland's Sensitive New Striker

Friday, February 11, 2011 | View Comments
-Jason Davis

The Portland Timbers unveiled the returning Kenny Cooper, their highest profile signing to date, at a press conference yesterday. Cooper comes back to MLS after spending a predominantly disappointing season and a half on the books of 1860 Munich of the 2.Bundesliga. Although his European adventure didn't pan out, Cooper is a proven MLS goal-scorer, an asset worth the investment for the Timbers.

Cooper will train with Portland for the first time today. Timbers fans will be happy to know that they're getting a more mature, more sensitive Kenny Cooper than the one that pushed his way to Europe back in 2009. Kenny's German experience must have really made a mark on him.

"And I now know what it's like to be the new guy, and to be in a country where English isn't the first language. I think that's a huge thing; I think it'll help me relate to my teammates in a better way – being sensitive to everyone in the team."

What does that mean for Kenny's game? Probably nothing, but let's remember that FC Dallas Kenny Cooper had problems sharing. Strikers are supposed to be selfish, but Cooper took that axiom to extremes during his time in Texas. If Cooper had the ball and any hint of a sense of where the goal might, meaning kicking the ball really hard might conceivably lead it to reaching the goalmouth, he took a shot. Hell, if Kenny could make out the rough form of the goalkeeper, he took a shot.

In 2008, when Cooper played 30 games for FC Dallas, he took a whopping 119 shots (that's almost four shots a game). Not surprisingly, that number led the league, with Dwayne DeRosario a distant second with 78. Kenny Cooper made Dwayne DeRosario look selective. That's no mean feat.

To be fair to Cooper, he did get half of those 2008 shots on goal, and he did score 18 times. That second number is the reason the Timbers signed him coming off of injury and disappointment, banking that he'll have a return to form back in the States.

A kinder, gentler Kenny Cooper. Chastened, perhaps. Maybe Kenny will choose to pass first rather than take every opportunity to launch misguided missiles into the sixth row, three sections to the right of the goal. Maybe Cooper uses his creative abilities, since he's clearly not a target forward even at 6'3", to set up highly-touted rookie Darlington Nagbe. Assuming everything is fine with his knee, we know Cooper is good enough to dominate in this league at times. If he is actually less selfish, if his trigger is a touch slower, maybe Portland has something more akin to Sebastian LeToux than '08 Kenny. Le Toux, if you'll remember, scored 14 goals while collecting 11 assists in Philly's expansion season. Cooper has never had more than four assists, and that was in 2006 - is a sensitive new, more sensitive Kenny ready to top that number?

No, probably not. Having to learn German on the fly isn't going to change the type of player Kenny Cooper happens to be. I'm sure John Spencer knows that, and is ready to deal with wayward shot after wayward shot if it means Cooper provides a young expansion team with double-digit goals.

Beside, what fun would an unselfish Kenny Cooper be? I can't wait until he christens the stands at the remodeled Timbers stadium. It'll be like he never left.

blog comments powered by Disqus
    KKTC Bahis Siteleri, Online Bahis



    Privacy Policy