October 27, 2012
FILLING THE NET VS. PHILLY
Cooper ends season with 5 goals in three wins vs. Union
CHESTER, Pa. -- Coach John Hackworth doesn't take it personally, but there's something about the Philadelphia Union that brings out the best in Kenny Cooper.
|Kenny Cooper has this knack of scoring against the Union, adding two more on Saturday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The Red Bulls striker victimized the Union five times in three games this Major League Soccer season.
You can look it up:
* On May 13, Cooper found the back of the net once in the Red Bulls' 3-2 win at PPL Park.
* On July 21, Cooper's double led New York to a 2-0 shutout of the Union at Red Bull Arena.
* And on Saturday, Cooper was at it again, striking for a brace in a 3-0 triumph back at PPL.
“Kenny and I have a good relationship and I am mad at him because somehow he victimizes us every single time," Hackworth said. "I mean he is a great player, he does what he needs to do and unfortunately he has done it against us a lot.”
Cooper, who finished with a team-high 18 goals, converted a penalty kick in the 13th minute to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead and boosted the visitors to a three-goal advantage with a goal from a difficult angle in the 66th minute.
“He’s an ultimate pro," said Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill, who fouled to set up the penalty kick. "He always puts his body on the line. He’s the first one in and last to leave. Even when he’s not playing he’s a perfect professional. He makes some good runs and as you see today if we feed him he’ll score. I am so happy for him. I said it to him before the game that it would be good to see him score a couple today and that’s what he did.”
Cooper's reaction was, well, typical Cooper, deflecting credit from himself to his teammates.
“You know it’s just great service from my teammates," he said. Cahill drew a penalty and I get to take it. Sometimes as a striker the shots you are taken are from far out, but I have gotten some shots from so close due to my teammates like Henry who has a lot of assists on my goals this year.”
Red Bulls coach Hans Backe agreed, elaborating that Cooper needs a supporting cast around him.
“I think Kenny Cooper’s a striker that needs surroundings, needs players that can set him up for finishing," he said. "I was surprised when he scored the second one. It looked like a mistake from the goalie. I mean, normally, you can’t score from that angle. But still, he’s there . . . Of course, he needs two players around him to set him up."
Captain and striker Thierry Henry praised his teammate, but he felt that Cooper sometimes does not pass enough.
“That’s what he does best," he said. "He got two today, but we all have to do a little bit more. As the center forward sometimes you got to keep the ball better. It’s not all about scoring goals, sometimes you got to keep the ball better and pass it to your teammates. But 18 goals we need that. We are going to need more of his goals going forward.”