Cooper hoped to honor the memory of former Red Bulls captain Claudio Reyna's 13-year-old son, Jack, who died Thursday of cancer. After going nearly two months without a goal, the New York striker headed in two scores in a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union.
''Claudio has always been a personal hero of mine,'' Cooper said. ''It's obviously a very sad situation. I wanted to do something to pay tribute to Claudio's son. Hopefully, I was able to honor him.''
Cooper scored one goal in each half in a span of 15 minutes, both by using his head, something he rarely does.
''I don't recall the last time I scored with a header,'' said Cooper, who has 13 goals, second in the MLS to San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, who has 17. ''But I have to give credit to my teammates. I was right outside the goal and the quality of the passes was perfect.''
Cooper scored for the first time since May 23. The Red Bulls (11-5-5) remain undefeated at home this season, improving to 7-0-3. New York is the lone MLS team without a loss at home.
Cooper, who did not start Wednesday's game against Chicago, scored off a pass from rookie Connor Lade in the 43rd minute, then added another header off a fine feed from Thierry Henry in the 58th minute.
Lade had two assists.
It was the second straight shutout victory for Bill Gaudette, who made two saves in place of injured starter Ryan Meara. Gaudette has started three straight games with two wins and a tie.
Philadelphia (6-10-2) had its best scoring chance in the first half when Josue Martinez got behind Red Bulls rookie defender Jonathan Borrajo in the 40th minute. Martinez burst past Borrajo, who was making his first-ever MLS appearance after entering the game in the 16th minute when Brandon Barklage strained his right hamstring. Martinez fired a shot that Gaudette stopped with his right arm.
Barklage's injury further hampered the Red Bulls' back line. All-Star Heath Pearce was out with a hamstring injury, along with Rafa Marquez and Jan Gunnar Solli.
Philadelphia played without forward Freddy Adu, who did not accompany the Union to New Jersey for what interim coach John Hackworth called a ''team matter.''
''Freddy's a fantastic player, but he wasn't here today,'' Hackworth said. ''We can debate it if we missed him or not. But we just didn't make the play when we had the chance. It was our ninth game in 27 days and we didn't have our normal energy.''