CANCUN, MEXICO – It may have only been a preseason scrimmage in Mexico, but Kenny Cooper made his first day back in a Dallas kit memorable. Posing a formidable threat up top alongside new teammate Eric Hassli, Cooper wasted little time in finding his flow within the Dallas offense as the big forward tallied two goals and an assist in the first 40 minutes of play against Mexican second division side, Merida.
In the 20th minute, it was Fabian Castillo who first connected with Cooper. The speedy Colombian beat his defender one-on-one down the right side and found Cooper making a timely run to the back post for the game’s first score. Less than 15 minutes later, first-year Homegrown center back London Woodberry delivered a long ball over the top to the veteran forward, who out-hustled his defender to the ball, but Merida’s goalkeeper was waiting for him, well off his line and smothered the first-touch attempt.
Minutes later, Cooper’s work paid off when a Merida mistake in the midfield sent the ball back into the Dallas attacking third and the veteran forward once again won the footrace to the loose ball, calmly slotting it past the ‘keeper for his second score of the afternoon.
Finally, in the 38th minute, Cooper found the ball at his feet inside the box and squared it to David Ferreira, who was standing at the penalty spot for the third and final goal of the game. The combination elicited cheers from the Dallas bench and at least one, “Welcome to the team, Kenny!”
FC Dallas made wholesale changes in the second half, but managed to maintain its control of the game through all the substitutions to keep the clean sheet.
Kenny Cooper (Fabian Castillo) 20
Kenny Cooper 37
David Ferreira (Kenny Cooper) 38
FC Dallas Lineup:
FC Dallas: Chris Seitz (Kyle Zobeck 45), Zach Loyd (Kellyn Acosta 49), Michel, London Woodberry, Jair Benitez (T.J. Nelson 60), Andrew Jacobson (Victor Ulloa 53), Jackson (Jonathan Top 60), Fabian Castillo (Cam Wilder 51), David Ferreira (Bobby Warshaw 49), Eric Hassli (Bradlee Baladez 43), Kenny Cooper (Ryuta Sasaki 60).