Monday, February 22, 2016

Sporting Bring in MLS Veteran Kenny Cooper on Trial

As Sporting KC heads into the final week of preseason camp in Tucson, the club's biggest need remains a backup for Dom Dwyer. Over the first two preseason games of the Desert Diamond Cup, Sporting KC has played without forward Dom Dwyer, instead having Jacob Peterson and Daniel Salloi play the center forward position in KC's 4-3-3 system. Neither has been overly impressive in that position, and both of KC's goals from the run of play (Soni Mustivar's goal against Columbus was off a set piece) have come from their wingers. KC could be in a dire situation if Dwyer were to go down this season for an extended period of time. Over the last two seasons, Dwyer has started 69 of KC's 83 games, so KC's need to replace him hasn't been dire, but a forward that can play and give Dwyer a rest or provide the hope of an offensive spark off the bench (something else KC really didn't have last year) has to be considered a priority.

Peter Vermes and Robb Heineman have both said that this is an area that the club is looking to address, and today it was announced that the club has brought in MLS veteran, Kenny Cooper on a trial. Cooper, 31, spent last year with the Montreal Impact, but played only once in MLS play and missed most of the season with a knee injury he suffered in the Amway Canadian Championship that required surgery. Before the stop in Montreal, Cooper spent time with Seattle, Dallas, New York, and Portland since 2011. Before that he'd been in Germany and England with 1860 Munich and Plymouth Argyle after his first stint in MLS with Dallas from 2006 to 2009. While Cooper's last few years haven't been great, scoring nine goals in MLS play over the last three years; he did score 18 for New York in 2012 and has scored 75 MLS goals for his career, which is good for 18th all-time in MLS. He already spent time this preseason with his former club, the New York Red Bulls, being let go before the second phase of their camp.

He's certainly not a name that is going to get a large number of Sporting KC fans excited, he's not the young designated player that Heineman hinted at during his recent #TweetnFly, but he'd fill a big need for Kansas City, and before we even get that far, let's remember that this is a trial, KC hasn't actually signed him. There's nothing at all wrong with "kicking the tires" and seeing if Cooper can fit into KC's system and fill a need for the team. If he does fit in, as long as he's willing to take a pay cut from the $220,000 he made last year with Montreal according to the players' union numbers, I don't have a problem at all with this move. You get an experienced forward who has a history of scoring in this league, can be a spot starter or provide some sort of spark off the bench, either by switching KC's formation to add a second forward with Dwyer, or a straight swap for Dwyer to go at team's a bit of a different way. While Cooper is 6'3" he doesn't play as you'd expect most 6'3" forwards to play, he's not an Alan Gordon who is going to go in and knock it around with the opposing center back, but he does have the ability to find the back of the net. Something KC didn't have a lot of off the bench last year, the club only got five goals from substitutes last year, and all were by players who started at least 17 games. So if KC were to sign him, I'd actually feel some level of optimism that a goal could come from a substitution, something I didn't have at all last year.

In the end, I like that KC is at least looking to address the need of another goal scorer and that they're looking at someone who has a history of scoring goals as well.


Unknown said...

After watching New England with Davies, Fagundez, Teal, Agudelo, Nguyen, SKC offensive options seemed very limited

hartley said...

It could be fun watching Kenny Cooper play for Rangers. Sorry, I don't think he makes the cut.

Anonymous said...

i don't think he has the legs to play 90 anymore, so he is no solution if dwyer can't start. but having a proven poacher you can bring in for the last 5 minutes or so of a game makes some sense.