In New York, they know all too well that the greatest players do not always get blessed with the greatest endings.
Just recently, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's career ended in uncharacteristically quiet fashion. Jeter's Yankees, so often a fixture in the Major League Baseball playoffs, did not qualify in his last season. Where superstars are concerned, fans want the ending to The Natural, but more often than not they get the ending to Friday Night Lights.
Charlie Davies' brace powered the New England Revolution into the MLS Cup final. Given the circumstances, Davies' performance in this match and in these playoffs should have been the main story. After scoring only three goals for the Revs in 18 regular-season appearances, Davies has hit for four in the playoffs, including the two goals that put the Revs into the final.
But Davies did not only turn the brightest lights on for New England, who now await an opponent (either the Los Angeles Galaxy or the Seattle Sounders) in the final. Davies may have extinguished one of the brightest lights Major League Soccer has in the process.
So it is to his credit that, serving as the face of the New York Red Bulls these past four-plus seasons, Henry was able to burnish his already ridiculous footballing credentials in a different league on another continent.
"Henry reinvented himself during his time in MLS, becoming more of a playmaker instead of a scorer," wrote Stephen Lee in a blog post for The Wall Street Journal. "He is the all-time team leader in assists."
Lee also noted that the Red Bulls never missed the playoffs with Henry on the roster and that "the Red Bulls won the 2013 Supporters Shield...the only major trophy the team has won in its nearly two-decade existence."
Henry tried to help with the script that kept this Red Bulls playoff run going. He assisted on the first goal of the game, a through ball to Tim Cahill that put the Red Bulls up early and helped them reach the point where they could see their way through to the final. With 20 minutes left in regulation, just one more goal would almost certainly have put the Red Bulls through.
The one goal, though, came from Davies and effectively ended the Red Bulls' season.
Henry tried to keep the subject of his probable retirement from overshadowing the Red Bulls' playoff run, but given the enormity of Henry's global profile as compared to that of MLS that was always going to be a losing battle.
"(T)he word is that if the Red Bulls bow out in this semi-final then Henry will also call time on a great career," wrote John Cross for The Mirror in the run-up to what was likely Henry's last match. "Henry insists he has yet to make up his mind, but is tipped to retire and return to England to work for Sky Sports."
Cross could not resist a cheap shot at MLS, noting that Henry's career was set to end "on a plastic pitch in a half-empty stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts." If Henry is in fact finished playing, that is a literally accurate way to describe the end, but it uncharitably leaves out all that Henry achieved in New York.
This is what the media does. Jeter's last game came against the Boston Red Sox, with whom the Yankees have a rivalry you might have heard about once or twice. The Associated Press' Jimmy Golen (via ESPN.com) had this to say about the game: "Jeter's departure gave some import to an otherwise meaningless game between the longtime AL East rivals, who missed the playoffs together for the first time in 20 years."
In that context, Henry's bowing out in the conference finals doesn't seem so sad after all.