Thierry Henry sparks Red Bulls with halftime tirade

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

HARRISON, N.J. – New York Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry ended the first half of Saturday’s 4-1 Crew thrashing with a go-ahead goal that served as the game’s ultimate catalyst.

Instead of celebrating the moment, Henry elected to use the opportunity to send a clear message to his teammates.

“Do your f*ck*ng job.”

That on-field tirade leaked into the lockerroom where Henry ripped into his team for giving up yet another lead.

“At halftime, he was fuming,” Luis Robles said after the match. “Just the way we were playing, we went up one-zero, we just gave up a bad goal. Then we got the lead again, even when we got the lead we were giving up big chances. So we came in at halftime and he was just irate.

“Obviously, that was vintage Thierry. When he plays like that there’s not a defense in the league that’s going to be able to stop him.”

While not as profane as his halftime message, Henry did give reporters a window into his thinking after the match. “We have to defend better as a team, period,” he began. “We’ve been doing that the whole season, conceding a goal like this.

“Enough is enough. We managed to come back today and a lot of times in so many games this year we couldn’t. I don’t think 4-1 was a deserved result for Columbus. They played well, they passed the ball well, in the second half we actually didn’t even touch it. But, today we scored and that changed the game. We cannot carry on giving goals away. We have to do better as a team, period.”

The Red Bulls have only lost once when scoring first this season (4-1-2). However, they have managed to lose many a lead throughout the campaign that has resulted in five losses and a whopping eight draws. Henry saw the writing on the wall, and helped spark the club both on and off the pitch to avoid any more letdowns. The French legend took part in each of the game’s four goals (one goal, three assists), backing his words with some much needed action, while breaking records as the team’s all-time assist leader.

That, Robles says, is the kind of leadership New York needed after a meandering start to their match.

“In a way [Henry’s tirade] was good because we took it out on the team in the second half,” he explained. “To everyone else’s credit, they were where he wanted them to be so he could make those passes. Of course we got some good finishes. Eric put it away, Lloyd got unlucky, he could’ve had two, he hit the post and of course Bradley is on fire. You guys know as well as anyone when our offense is on it’s really tough to compete with us.

“So we need our captain, we need our leader to be emotional like that. The guys just fed off it. That’s why in the second half it was compact, defense played great, we didn’t give up those chances and we got three points.”

“You should always take better criticism when you win,” Henry concludes. “We found ourselves so many times in this very dressing room, crying because we conceded so many goals that we shouldn’t have conceded because we didn’t defend well as a team. We managed to escape today. Let’s all be happy about it, but let’s also go home and think about how we conceded that goal.”