How Kenny Cooper Got His 'F' Back

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 17: Kenny Cooper #33 and Jack Jewsbury #13 of the Portland Timbers celebrate Cooper's goal during the first half of the game against FC Dallas at Jeld-Wen Field on April 17, 2011 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

KFC, Kenny Effin Cooper, Kenny Cooper. Great nickname! Doubly so because his middle name doesn't even start with an 'F' (his middle name is Scott, by the way). I'm not even really sure where the nickname originated from. I was there at the press conference announcing him and it certainly wasn't introduced there! Still, from about the time the season kicked off Kenny Cooper has been referred to Kenny "F" Cooper.

Unfortunately, as the season wore on and Cooper began to struggle many, myself included, began wondering whether he deserved to even be in a starting position let alone have such an audacious nickname. With each offsides, bum pass or foul my interest in his performance soured.

The feeling must have been reverberating around the front office as well as Cooper was actually sidelined for much of the middle part of the season, usually coming on as a late sub rather than playing the full 90. For a team's premier player, this wasn't really a good thing for morale.

And then something changed. Early August saw Kenny Cooper once again begin taking the field as a starter and his mentality had changed. He was connecting better, his attitude seemed to be better. Overall he was just giving the game much more effort that before. Not that I ever noticed a lack of it prior, but where he might have been struggling with confidence before, he was now playing with much more conviction.

While initially that didn't immediately translate into goals we began to see what a team player he could really be. Despite all this, however, he still lacked the "F" in his nickname. As a striker, he would still be judged 100% on the goals he would produce, or not produce as was the case. That's when another change was needed...

If you look at the last four games, Kenny Cooper has scored in 3 of them, which is a GREAT average by the way. You'll also notice in each of them that Cooper is doing something different. Whereas in games past Kenny would attempt to be the dribbler and often flop around or butcher a pass, in the last few games he was the target man. For each of the last 3 goals he was merely the guy who the ball was sent to so he could knock it home. And he did it... 3 times, almost 4 (against the New York Red Bulls).

So what's this mean? Quite simply, it's that Kenny Cooper shouldn't be trying to wind his way through defensive backlines. Instead Jorge Peraza, Sal Zizzo, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Kalif Alhassan and whoever else should follow the pattern of getting it to Cooper when he's in such a spot so as to just drive it on home.

Sure it might not be the prettiest method of goal scoring, as shown by his chest bump goal against the New England Revolution (I think!) but who gives a crap? It's working and it's what works for Kenny Cooper.

So it's with a huge delight that I can say (F bomb incoming!), after his phenomenal golazo against the Vancouver Whtiecaps, Kenny Fuckin' Cooper.

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