Red Bulls remain mum on Henry playing in New England

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

In his four years with the New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry has never played a match at New England.

Whether that changes for this playoff series remains to be seen.

Both Henry and the Red Bull organization have already begun a deft deflection campaign as reporters across the board begin asking about the captain’s availability for the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals.

“Let me say this; we are playing the New England Revolution Sunday at Red Bull Arena. That is the only game I am thinking about, that is the only game I am talking about,” Petke said during his weekly conference call. “I am not going to let something like that take any type of stage before the first game at Red Bull Arena.”

Regardless of the apparent absurdity of the question itself, it is a fair inquiry to make. Henry has missed key moments throughout his MLS tenure to avoid playing on artificial turf. The idea, of course, is to preserve his legs. After all, Henry has been fighting issues with both his Achilles tendons since arriving to the United States. In fact, since his arrival in 2010, Henry has only played three matches on turf — each one at Portland’s Jeld-Wen stadium. Two of those encounters were for regular season matches. One, the All-Star game.

Just last season, the French legend sidestepped a potential appearance at the Seattle Sounders, with the team firmly entrenched in a late season playoff run. Ultimately, Tim Cahill took the role of talisman to give New York an unlikely result. However, that particular moment serves to display just how far Henry would go to avoid injury and aggravation stemming from the rigors of artificial turf.

Much may depend on the result of next Saturday’s match at Red Bull Arena. Should the Red Bulls win big, Henry may be able to preserve himself for the MLS Cup. Any other scenario, however, will put the spotlight directly on the Red Bull captain.

For now, Henry is not tipping his hat to either option.

“We are not there yet,” Henry said after the DC match this weekend. “You know yet? I don’t know yet.”


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  • Andrew Bissonette

    While I can certainly understand him not playing on turf during the regular season, I will be severely pissed off if he isn’t on the field in the playoffs in New England and I won’t be the only person feeling that way.

  • Billy

    Unless the first game turns out to be a blowout, he’s got to play in New England.

  • Kevin D

    The MLS needs to do away with turf, we have enough road blocks in signing international talent.

  • And in the Fort we”l be chanting (as we always do):

    He old! He’s French! He’s sitting on the bench!


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