June 15, 2013
Kenny Cooper left Timbers because his father, former NASL goalkeeper, had a heart attack
By Michael Lewis
|Kenny Cooper could not play with Dallas due to a family emergency.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Former Red Bulls striker Kenny Cooper missed FC Dallas' game at the Portland Timbers on Saturdaybecause his father, Kenny Cooper, Sr. had a heart attack, according to a source.
The elder Cooper was hospitalized on Saturday morning and was recovering, the source said.
The younger Cooper returned home to Dallas to be with his father and family and missed Dallas' 1-0 loss to Portland, the Major League Soccer club said.
"Kenny Cooper flew back to Dallas this morning to attend a family emergency and will not be available for the match against the Portland Timbers," a statement from FC Dallas said. "FC Dallas asks that you keep Kenny and his family in your thoughts and prayers while also respecting their privacy."
Kenny Cooper played with the Red Bulls last season and scored a team-high 18 goals before he was traded to Dallas due to salary cap concerns, the New York club said.
Cooper, 66, forged a reputation as one of the best goalkeepers while starring for the Dallas Tornado in the original North American Soccer League from 1970-1979. He played in what is the longest game in U.S. pro soccer history, a 176-minute affair with the Rochester Lancers in 1971. The Tornado went on to win the NASL title that year. He also played for the New York Cosmos during an off-season tour in 1975, Pele's first season with the team.
He went on to become of the most successful indoor coaches in the Major Indoor Soccer League, directing the Baltimore Blast to the 1984 title. He also won won MISL coach of the year honors in 1984 and 1988. Cooper also guided the Houston Summit in the MISL and the Baltimore Spirit and Tampa
Bay Terror in the National Professional Soccer League, another indoor circuit in a coaching career that spanned 18 years.
Without the younger Cooper and striker Blas Perez, who was on World Cup duty with Panama, FC Dallas struggled against Portland. Eric Hassli was forced out of the game in the eighth minute after he sustained an injury.Dallas suffered its first shutout of the season as the Timbers extended their unbeaten streak to 13 games.
"Take those three guys and we might have been a little bit different," FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman told reporters after the game. "I think we have arguably the best strikers in the league when you look at Eric Hassli, Kenny Cooper and Blas Perez. All three of them on one team; what are the chances that none of them would be available in one game?
"Blas Perez will be back after his last game with Panama, and I think Kenny will be fine depending on the emergency he’s dealing with. Eric strained his back during the warm up after we had already announced our lineup.”"