HANOVER, N.J. – Even from England, the "Legend" continues to keep an eye on his former team and his old teammates.

Turns out that Thierry Henry, the recently retired New York Red Bulls star who is now broadcasting for the BBC, can't help but keep up with the last team he ever played for. After the Red Bulls beat New York City F.C., 2-1, on Sunday night, Henry hit up the cell phone to connect with midfielder Lloyd Sam following his former teammate's two-assist performance in the derby win.

“We were texting after the game against NYC. He was just saying he thought I was the man of the match, actually, that's what he texted me. We had a little conversation about the game – that's not me saying that – I'm just telling you what he said,” Sam said on Wednesday. “We talked after – he's still watching the game – we talk after most games. He still knows what's going on.”

Ironically it is because of Henry – or perhaps more aptly because of the lack of Henry – that Sam is shining this year. That's not a shot at Henry, just that the absence of the greatest player to ever suit-up for New York is opening the door for others, like Sam, to shine.

So far in nine appearances, of which eight were starts, Sam has three goals and three assists, putting him in contention as an early MVP candidate. His continued growth and development is evidenced by his ability to be dynamic in the final-third this year.

Far from the stats, he's also been pivotal for the Red Bulls in head coach Jesse Marsch's new system, a high-press style that requires Sam to do a lot of dirty work. Marsch has hailed Sam and his relationship with a player who is making an early statement to be an All-Star and Best XI.

“Everyone keeps saying that. I feel like I'm not that different from last year apart from I'm trying to get a few more goals,” Sam said. “Obviously we don't have the big man Thierry here no more so naturally I'm going to get more of the ball now, that's one of the differences. But I don't think I've been that different personally but with Jesse's system, I seem to get more chances in front of goal.”