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Kris Boyd's competition in Portland is named Cooper

31 January 8:01 de la tarde

Kris Boyd's competition in Portland is named Cooper

By Simon Borg

Kris Boyd doesn't know it yet but he has more than just MLS defenders he'll be contending with every weekend in the USA.

Portland's new designated player already has a minimum goal target he MUST hit in 2012 to even qualify as a moderately successful signing: nine.

That's the total that would surpass Kenny Cooper's production from last year in a Timbers jersey.

And make no mistake about it: By offloading Cooper on SuperDraft day and committing the big bucks to Boyd, the Timbers absolutely need Boyd to have the better season this year.

It will be the game-within-the-game to watch throughout 2012. Who is the more productive player in MLS? Boyd may not know who New York's Cooper is yet, but you have to figure Cooper, for one, will be checking Boyd's stat line every weekend.

They are very different players -- Boyd is considered a natural scorer while Cooper enjoys playing outside the box -- but in the end both will be judged by the ultimate measure of a striker's success: balls in the back of the net (and assists). And Boyd has the edge going into it purely based on his characteristics.

If the Scotsman does not bang them in for Portland, then it would likely point to wider personnel issues for the Timbers (do the wingers provide enough service? do the central midfielders have enough ideas?).

And in that scenario, the much-maligned Cooper would come out smelling like, well, roses.