Q&A with Kenny Cooper

23 August 9:56 am

Q&A with Kenny Cooper

By Frank Della Femina

The Red Bulls' leading goal scorer took a few minutes to answer some questions after a recent training session at Montclair State University. See what he has to say about scoring his 14th goal, the current state of the team and Sunday's crucial match against Kansas City.

You picked up your 14th goal of the season against Portland this past weekend. It must’ve felt pretty good to not only get the tally but to also be the one to kick off a comeback win as well.

It felt great to win the game and come back. I felt the guys showed great character to fight back and to get a win out of being down two goals. So yeah, it felt really good to be a part of that.

What can you say about Jan’s (Gunnar Solli) cross into the box? It didn’t look like you had to make that much effort to put it home. Seemed right on the mark.

He had two beautiful crosses. He did a lot of hard work on our first goal. He put it right on my head, so I’m glad I didn’t mess it up for him. It was really a great cross. He played a really great game and he was influential in two of the goals.

You have obvious ties to Portland after playing there last season. Did it feel a little surreal playing against the team you were scoring for last season?

The win was just as special as any other win. Three points, big points. Afterwards it was nice to see some old friends. I made some great relationships there with the club and fans and everyone associated with the club there were really good to me and it’s definitely good to see some old faces and catch up a little bit. I thought they played well. They scored two good goals. I wish them the best moving forward.

One of the things a lot of players talk about this time of year is the team finding a groove. With all these guys coming back from injury and the recent boost in training sessions, do you think the team is finding its groove now?

It’s great to see guys healthy. You know, we’ve been really unfortunate with injuries throughout the year and I’m really happy to see my teammates back and healthy. On this team I think you can see how strong the squad is now and it’s something we’ve seen throughout the year with guys out, there’s been so many people contributing to the success here. We do have a deep squad and hopefully this last quarter of the year will be even better than the first part of the year.

You’d had a chance now to play with Tim Cahill for a few games. How do you think he is adapting to the league?

He’s been amazing. You see his quality is obvious. He’s a leader and I’m happy that he scored his first goal this past weekend. You see his influence out there on the field and he does a great job. He’s a player I really admire and I’m happy he’s on our team now.

Obviously the win helped pull the Red Bulls within two points of the first place Kansas City, but how crucial is Sunday’s match, not only in terms of getting points, but also in scouting an opponent you’ll be playing against three times over the remaining nine games?

We have a couple of games against them in this later part of the season. Two points separate the teams. It would be great to leapfrog them in the standings this weekend. They’re a really fantastic team. Just a lot of great players. A lot of attacking talent with Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Bunbury, Graham Zusi, to name a few. They’re a talented group and they’ve been very strong this year. Their position in the table shows that. I’m sure they’ll be hungry to finish the season in a good standing. Again, only two points separate the teams, and hopefully after our game against them we can leapfrog them.