Thierry Henry made his debut last night for his new club the New York Red Bulls in a 2 -1 friendly defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. Despite the loss, one can only characterize Henry’s debut as a complete success.
Big questions surround any new signing, no matter the team, league or player, and they usually sound pretty similar. Will the new player deliver real value for the money invested? Will this be the one piece to the puzzle that can deliver the silverware? With Thierry Henry, those questions also include things like; Will he put fans in the seats? Can he convince other players to come to the USA? Is this signing good for the entire league? It is an awful lot for one player to have to answer.
But for those who trek to Red Bull Arena on a regular basis, there is only one question that really matters. Can he score goals playing with this group of players and in this league? Henry’s resume is certainly an impressive one, but the New York faithful have been down that road many times before and they are usually met with disappointment. However, last night’s game certainly gives Red Bull fans something to get excited about.
There is no doubt that we are working on a very small sample here. Henry only played the first half of the friendly. But what an impressive half it was. For a player that we can only assume is still learning his teammates’ first names, Henry looked ready to put them on his back and take them to victories.
Not only did Henry’s level of play seem clearly above those of his fellow Red Bulls, it also seemed somewhat better than Tottenham’s players as well. Henry created chances for himself and for his teammates and scored a goal on a terrific finesse finish. For those 45 minutes, Henry was the best player on the field.
And all of this without his strike-partner Juan Pablo Angel. Creating chances for each other, these two outstanding finishers together will undoubtedly be too much for MLS defenders to handle.
I expect to be questioned on whether or not I am drawing conclusions way too quickly here, and that is a fair inquiry. I am not saying New York will win MLS Cup this year. But what I am saying is there is a very good chance, even from the small sample we saw last night, that Henry will deliver the goods for the Red Bulls.