Frisco, TX (Sports Network) - Kenny Cooper established himself as one of the
top strikers in MLS in his first stint with FC Dallas from 2006-09, and his
return to the club is part of the reason that the Hoops harbor a return to the
postseason after a one-year absence.
Cooper netted 40 goals in 90 matches for Dallas, including 18 in the 2008
season, and he figures to give the Dallas attack a much-needed shot in the arm
that could propel them into the top five in a tough Western Conference.
The 28-year-old tied his career high with 18 goals last season while playing
alongside Thierry Henry at Red Bull New York. And although he won't be
partnered with quite as dynamic a forward in Dallas, there is enough talent on
the roster to bring out the best in Cooper.
On the same day that Dallas acquired Cooper from the Red Bulls, the club also
added Eric Hassli from Toronto FC in a separate trade.
Hassli contributed three goals in eight games for TFC last term after he
netted 12 in 44 games for Vancouver as a Designated Player.
The talented Frenchman should compliment Cooper, while a pair of holdover
forwards, Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo, emerged as scoring threats last
Perez led the team with nine goals in 20 games, while the 20-year-old Castillo
is capable of a big year this season after chipping in six goals, including
four in his last seven starts.
"As a striker, it's always great to have confidence in the guys around you,"
Cooper said. "When you're surrounded by good players you can have that. I've
certainly felt that since I've been here."
The attack figures to be much improved, even with the loss of winger Brek Shea
to England's Stoke City.
Defense was not the problem for Dallas last season, but the club will be
breaking in a new goalkeeper after the departure of veteran Kevin Hartman.
Peru national team goalkeeper Raul Fernandez was acquired to compete with
returning backup Chris Seitz between the posts.
Whichever player wins that battle, he will play behind a sturdy back line led
by George John and Zach Loyd.
In addition to the arrival of Cooper, one of the biggest reasons for
positivity at the club is a return to full strength of midfield playmaker
The 2010 MLS MVP came back last season after a 15-month injury absence to
assist on nine goals while scoring two himself in 17 games.
And while there were flashes of the old Ferreira at times, the 34-year-old
should be in top form this year, which would be another big boost to the
20112 IN REVIEW: Any hopes that Dallas had of making the postseason were
damaged by a 13-game winless run from the middle of April to July. The club
still managed to finish within four points of a playoff berth, but injuries
and inconsistency were too much for head coach Schellas Hyndman's team to
ACQUISITIONS: Peter Luccin (M), Stephen Keel (D), Raul Fernandez (GK), Eric
Hassli (F), Kenny Cooper (F).
LOSSES: Bryan Leyva (M), Bruno Guarda (M), Ruben Luna (F), Kevin Hartman (GK),
Julian de Guzman (M), Scott Sealy (F), Moises Hernandez (D), Ricardo Villar
(M), James Marcelin (M), Brek Shea (M).
OUTLOOK: Making the playoffs in the Western Conference will not be easy with
teams such as Los Angeles, Real Salt Lake, San Jose and Seattle to contend
with. But Dallas has put itself in position to move past Vancouver and into
the postseason with the additions of Cooper and Hassli as well as a full
season from Ferreira. Offensively, Dallas should improve upon the 42 goals it
scored last season, while the only real question defensively is in goal, where
Fernandez will be the likely successor to the steady veteran Hartman.
The Sports Network