Fair or not, new Sounders FC addition Kenny Cooper is bound to be compared to Eddie Johnson, the team’s top scorer the past two seasons.
The forward swap was a swift one as Johnson was traded Tuesday to D.C. United and Cooper agreed to a deal with Seattle on Thursday (his rights had been acquired in a trade last week with FC Dallas).
Cooper, for his part, has more than shown the capacity to cover the lost production, at least, having scored 24 goals the past two seasons, one more than Johnson.
“I understand the expectation is to score goals and help create them,” Cooper said in a conference call after his signing. “There is obviously a desire to do that, on my part, but also to put in an honest effort every day and in every game.”
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The commitment to hard work sounds remarkably familiar to majority owner Joe Roth’s vow last week to find players who will “run through a brick wall.”
Terms of the contract weren’t disclosed due to MLS and team policy, but Cooper is expected to make less than the $342,500 he was paid in 2013 with FC Dallas. The 29-year-old joins his fourth team in four years, having also played for New York, where he scored 12 goals in 2012, and Portland, making him the second Sounder in the MLS era to have also played for the rival Timbers.
The question is if Cooper will be able to regain the scoring form he had with the Red Bulls or whether the production will be like last season, when he had six goals in 31 games.
Cooper said explaining the goal disparity is difficult but that he certainly benefitted from playing alongside personal hero Thierry Henry two years ago: “I’ve been fortunate in the last couple of years to play alongside some great players, and I know I’m coming into a team that also has a lot of talent.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.