Moments from 2012: Cooper Joins the 50-Goal Club

We’re revisiting some of the top moments of the Red Bulls’ 2012 season from now until the end of the year. First up in this series: Kenny Cooper joining the 50-goal club.

In the third game of the season, the Mar. 25 home opener at Red Bull Arena, Kenny Cooper helped lead the Red Bulls past the Colorado Rapids to earn the team’s first victory of the season with a solid two-goal performance. The 4-1 win not only stood as a strong rebound from the two consecutive road losses that started the season, but it also placed Cooper into Major League Soccer’s 50-Goal Club.

Match Highlights: NY 4, COL 1

Coop scored his 49th in the season opener against Dallas after subbing on in the 63rd minute in what amounted to a 2-1 loss. After finishing on the wrong side of a 2-0 shutout at Real Salt Lake’s Rio Tinto Stadium the following week, the team was eager to turn things around at home.

New York jumped out to an early lead when Thierry Henry picked up his first of the season in just the third minute of play, but the collective sigh of relief came just three minutes later when the Red Bulls doubled up on Coop’s 50th. He’d later add his 51st in the 89th minute, as both he and Henry closed out the first home match of the season with a brace each.

“After starting out with two games on the road, it was nice to come home in front of our fans, and nice to give them a good result as well,” Cooper said after the match.

Top commenter Andrew Bissonette must have been looking into his crystal ball at the time, as he nearly predicted Cooper and Henry’s end-of-year totals with laser-precision accuracy:

Cooper would go on to score 18 goals in 2012, two short of Bissonette’s prediction, finishing second behind only Chris Wondolowski’s 27. By season's end, Henry would tally the predicted 15 goals and add 12 assists as he finished fifth overall in the MLS scoring race.