Several Spanish-language outlets have been speculating today that Armando Cooper, recently released by Toronto FC, could be on his way to Chile. Huachipato of the Chilean Primera Division are apparently in talks with Cooper, according to Panamanian outlet TVMax.
TFC declined Cooper’s contract option in December, but the club suggested he could still be invited to training camp this winter. The Panama international was very expensive for a bench player in 2017, though, making $200,000 in guaranteed compensation while playing just 19 regular season games (10 starts).
Cooper didn’t manage to score a goal for Toronto last season, although he did come incredibly close at the end of the MLS Cup final (Victor Vazquez ended up finishing that one). Toward the end of 2017, he clawed back some goodwill among TFC fans by carving out a niche as a top-notch time waster late in playoff games.
I would’ve thought the Reds might like to keep Cooper for this season, since his experience with Central American clubs might’ve helped in the CONCACAF Champions League. Of course, any contract Tim Bezbatchenko and co. would’ve offered him for 2018 definitely would not have been anywhere near his previous deal in price.
So, this might be Cooper’s own decision. In a World Cup year, he likely wants as much playing time as possible as he gears up to represent Panama this summer in Russia. This would now mean that TFC currently have no players heading to the World Cup.
Anyway, the Reds won’t be hurt too badly by Cooper’s departure if this is true. He wasn’t a starter, and Jonathan Osorio is often ahead of him in the pecking order off the bench. TFC also have Jay Chapman who can come into midfield there, and it’s possible they sign another option.