PORTLAND, Ore. – It seems as though everyone got in on the fun in the Portland Timbers' 3-0 victory last Friday against the New England Revolution.
But there was perhaps one player who savored it a bit more.
Kenny Cooper’s goal in the 31st minute to give the Timbers a 2-0 lead was one of an increasingly few number of bright spots for the veteran forward. Cooper, one of Portland’s marquee signings leading up to the club’s inaugural season, hasn’t lived up to his reputation as a prolific goal scorer. Before the goal, Cooper was sitting on a total of four – equal to his career-low mark in 2007, his second year in the league. He scored 18 goals for FC Dallas in 2008.
“It always feels good to score whether it’s yourself or the team,” Cooper said. “We were fortunate enough to get three [goals] ... and I thought we created a lot of great chances.”
It was the first time Cooper inked his name on the scoresheet since he bagged Portland’s lone goal in a 1-1 tie against San Jose on Aug. 6. And if it wasn’t the prettiest of goals – he scored on a kind of chest bump at the end of a perfectly placed cross by defender Mike Chabala – he’ll take it.
With the ball nestled in the back of the net, Cooper was quick to hug head coach John Spencer in the post-goal scrum.
“I certainly feel deep appreciation to John for the faith he’s shown in me this year,” Cooper said. “I'm certainly hungry to repay the faith he has shown in me. I wanted to get a goal for him, and I was fortunate to get on the end of a great ball from Chewy.”
In defense of defense
The Timbers have recorded three straight shutouts for the first time this season and have played 272 consecutive minutes without allowing a goal.
Previous to the victory over New England, Portland played the Philadelphia Union to a scoreless draw on Sept. 10 and beat Chivas USA 1-0 on Aug. 24.
Friday’s result was goalkeeper Troy Perkins’ eighth shutout of the season, which matched a career high for clean sheets in a single season. He reached the mark twice previously while with D.C. United in 2006 and ‘07.
The Timbers drew a record crowd of 20,323 at JELD-WEN Field for Friday’s match thanks to an expanded seating capacity for the first time this season. The club will also expand seating for their regular-season finale on Oct. 14 against the Houston Dynamo.
The stadium’s normal capacity is 18,627. All 15 league matches have been sold out.