With six goals in five appearances, Kenny Cooper is off to a hot start for the New York Red Bulls.
If the goal tally isn't impressive enough, the towering 6-foot-3 striker is shooting a lights-out 69 percent on target. While it is still early in the season, should Cooper's form continue an inevitable question will arise: should he be considered for the United States national team?
"While I always focus on having a good club season first, it is always a motivation of mine to get back on that level," Cooper told Goal.com. "Those were some of the best days of my career[playing for the U.S.]"
Cooper hasn't played for the U.S. since 2009, scoring in his last appearance. Overall, he has four goals in 10 international matches. Due to poor club form over the past two and half years, Cooper has fallen down the ranks in the U.S. striker depth chart. There's also been some questions about his ability to fit with the national side.
Part of Cooper's success this season has been due to his pairing with Red Bulls star Thierry Henry. As a single forward up top (which the U.S. employs in its tactical formation), he has struggled in stops at 1860 Munich and the Portland Timbers. Still, Cooper believes that his recent form is a combination of his teammates and entering his prime at 27.
"There's amazing players over here and as a striker, it's great to feel confident in your teammates," Cooper said. "At 27 years old, I still feel like I have a lot to learn and a lot to show."
Follow ALEX LABIDOU on
A clinical finisher in the box, if there's one area that Cooper can improve on, it's his aerial ability. For a tall player, Cooper isn't known for winning challenges in the air or heading in too many goals. His strength is primarily with his feet. Coach Hans Backe would like that to change.
"He's a very nice guy, probably too nice. If he would use his body a little bit more [physically], he would even score more," Backe said.
Saturday's 4-1 victory showed that maybe the coach's message got through. Getting a long ball up in the air, the big man powered in a shot with his head to give New York a 2-0 in the 15th minute.
It was the type of play that Cooper rarely shows but if he keeps it up, sooner or later Jurgen Klinsmann might give him a call.