Seattle Sounders FC forward Kenny Cooper is about to face a former team for the second consecutive week, but this one is a true homecoming.
Cooper and his new team traveled Thursday to Texas, where the Sounders will meet Western Conference leader FC Dallas on Saturday.
“It’s my hometown,” Cooper said before flying out. “My family all lives there. I have a lot of friends. It’s one I’m really excited about: a lot of great memories playing in that stadium. It’s definitely one I circle on the calendar every year.”
He grew up in Dallas and spent his first four Major League Soccer seasons there from 2006-2009.
After time in Germany, Cooper returned to MLS, spending one season in Portland and another in New York before rejoining FC Dallas in 2013. The Sounders acquired his rights in a December trade for midfielder Adam Moffat and allocation money.
“I’m definitely happy where I am,” Cooper said. “So, no bad feelings toward them.”
Cooper returned to Portland last week, scoring a goal in the Sounders’ 4-4 draw with the Timbers.
In the days leading up to that game, he had spoken warmly about his season in Portland and his chance to reconnect with former teammates.
However, he admits that the return to Dallas is a bigger deal.
“I had the unique opportunity of playing in my hometown,” he said. “Not a whole lot of players get the chance to do that: your parents and nieces and nephews in the stands. I’ve been real fortunate, and I really cherish that time that I was there, and I look forward to seeing my parents again.”
Cooper has been heating up for the Sounders (2-2-1), recording two goals and an assist over his past three matches.
“I think he’s starting to understand when to come in and find himself as part of the offensive part of the game,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “ … He’s starting to find the net now. He’s starting to feel comfortable.”
The MLS Players Union released its annual list of player salaries Thursday.
Designated player Clint Dempsey leads the Sounders with a base salary of $4,913,004 and guaranteed compensation of $6,695,189.
The only other seven-figure Sounder is DP forward Obafemi Martins: $1,620,000 and $1,753,333.
Eleven Sounders have base salaries below $50,000.
“Obviously the disparity between top and bottom is much greater in our league than it is in other professional leagues in the U.S. and overseas,” Schmid said. “But I think for the most part, guys know it. They look it up, but it doesn’t become an issue in the locker room.”
Dempsey’s guaranteed compensation is the highest in MLS for the second consecutive season, while his base salary is third behind Toronto FC midfielder Michael Bradley and forward Jermain Defoe ($6 million each). Bradley’s guaranteed compensation is $6.5 million, and Defoe’s is $6.18 million.
The Sounders placed first-year players Damion Lowe (hip) and Kevin Parsemain (anterior cruciate ligament) on the injured reserve list. The designation means each must miss six games, although both are expected to be out significantly longer.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt