Will New York Red Bull superstar Thierry Henry call it a career at year’s end or will he add a few more chapters to his story? That is a question that will no doubt follow New York throughout the 2014 season as the legendary Frenchman enters the final year of his Red Bull contract.
Head coach Mike Petke is adamant that Henry’s future won’t serve to distract the squad. For now, the team is more than happy to take it day by day — starting with preseason.
“Obviously, Thierry wants to focus on the now, focus on the season and getting off to a good start,” Petke explained. “He’s continuing to do well in the preseason and I think that’s the farthest thing on his mind, to be honest with you.
“I think we’d all be foolish to realize that at some point, midseason on, that there will be discussions, because there has to be, but at this stage, Thierry, I think is doing a great job in prioritizing on the now.”
Not only are the Red Bulls sure they will keep focus on the games at hand, Petke also feels Henry’s future will not deter New York from dipping into the Designated Player market this summer.
“I don’t think it affects anything right now because no matter if Thierry was in his last year or if he had three more years, we’re always on the radar for potential Designated Players,” he said. “As it gets closer, realizing what’s going to go on in the following years after this, we can really narrow our search in a pool of players we’ve already identified as potential DPs.”
CONNOR LADE UPDATE
After spending most of 2013 out with a mysterious knee ailment, Connor Lade has been near-invisible this offseason, appearing once in four matches, earning limited minutes.
Lade, who enjoyed a breakout year as a rookie and earned a call-up to the U.S. Men’s National Team last January, became a non-factor for New York in a forgettable sophomore season.
Has the young defender fallen out of favor with the technical staff? Not so says Petke.
“He had a knock of the head not long ago and obviously he came back from the concussion protocol that we have with the league and he’s been cleared,” Petke said. “He’s been back playing hard over the last couple of days, so there’s no health issues right now with Connor. He’s doing well, he’s working hard and he continues to try to vie for a spot on this team.”
CONVEY ON THE MEND
Another player who disappeared against the Montreal Impact this weekend was offseason acquisition, Bobby Convey. The U.S. veteran has featured as a left back, central midfielder and left midfielder in his three appearances with the team this offseason. Against Montreal, he didn’t earn a minute.
Once again, Petke cites health issues for the decision.
“He has something going on in his chest right now,” he says. “Nothing serious, nothing to be concerned. He’s having trouble breathing, so that was the decision to give him a couple of days off to get his health back.
“We have our team doctor down here now who is speaking with him and figuring out what the best course is for him. As far as I know, he should be in partial training this afternoon and I don’t see him featuring in the game Wednesday unless he has a tremendous recovery.”
Whether this illness will keep him out of the team’s March 8th opener at Vancouver is unknown.
NEW YORK RED BULLS RESERVE LEAGUE SCHEDULE
24-Mar Chicago Fire 11 am Toyota Park Practice Field
30-Mar Dayton Dutch Lions 6 pm Red Bull Arena
6-Apr Montreal Impact 10:30 am Olympic Stadium
18-Apr Charleston Battery 7:30 pm Blackbaud Stadium
11-May Chicago Fire 10 am Red Bull Training Field
31-May OKC Energy 8 pm Pribil Stadium
6-Aug Harrisburg City Islanders 7:30 pm Skyline Sports Complex
15-Aug Wilmington Hammerheads TBD TBD
24-Aug Montreal Impact 10 am Red Bull Training Field