Thierry Henry Revival Is Key for Red Bulls in Their MLS Cup Quest

Andrew Jordan@@Andrew_JordanSenior Writer IMay 19, 2011

HARRISON, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11: Thierry Henry #14 of the New York Red Bulls acknowledges the fans after scoring a first half goal against the Colorado Rapids during the game at Red Bull Arena on September 11, 2010 in Harrison, New Jersey. The Red Bulls defeated the Rapids 3-1. (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images )
Andy Marlin/Getty Images

Following last year's World Cup, the New York Red Bulls made two massive acquisitions that helped to change the face of Major League Soccer.

Those midsummer moves came in the form of the signing of Rafa Marquez and Thierry Henry, both of whom played for Barcelona the season before and found themselves out of favor with Pep Guardiola.

In the case of Marquez, he was able to recapture his prior success with the Red Bulls and never seemed to have any problems adapting to the style of MLS.

But in Henry's case, he was unable to recapture his old form, scoring just two goals in 12 matches and was unable to score in the playoffs as the Red Bulls were knocked out by the San Jose Earthquakes.

However, Henry's play started to be poor since the infamous hand ball against Ireland in the UEFA World Cup playoff, and continued on throughout the remainder of his season with Barcelona and for France in the World Cup.

After last season, many people wondered if Henry had anything left in him and with players such as Juan Agudelo and Tm Ream around him, how well would he be able to produce for the Red Bulls in the 2011 season.

During the first three matches of Henry's season, he was unable to score and the Red Bulls went 1-1-1 in the process. But just when it appeared time that the Red Bulls needed him most, Henry was able to score his first goal of the season against San Jose on April 16.

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This started Henry's goal scoring stretch that saw a brace in his next match at DC United in a 4-0 blowout and goals at the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas USA.

Right now, the Red Bulls are on top of the Eastern Conference table and are tied with both Houston and DC United in the Eastern Conference for most goals scored.

But from here, Henry can only help the Red Bulls continue with one of the most notable offenses in MLS.

With Juan Agudelo alongside him on top, Henry and Agudelo can combine to be the most feared striker combo in MLS history. And now that they have acquired Dwayne de Rosario, the Red Bulls are going to be viewed as one of the strongest candidates to hoist the MLS Cup at the end of the season.

Throughout their history, the Red Bulls have consistently been under pressure to perform to championships but have been unable to do so.

The Red Bulls have never been able to hoist the MLS Cup and have only reached one MLS Cup final back in 2008, where they lost 3-1 to the Columbus Crew.

Besides their MLS Cup run, the Red Bulls have only been able to win a playoff series one other time; in 2000 over the Dallas Burn.

Despite a lack of history of winning, the New York Red Bulls best ever chance of winning the MLS Cup is this year.

But if Thierry Henry is able to continue his recent exploits and the rest of the Red Bulls team can fulfill expectations and not lose matches against weak opponents (such as Chivas USA at home last weekend), the Red Bulls can certainly win the MLS Cup this year.