Henry wants to see Red Bulls defense improve
For the third straight week, Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry was named MLS Player of the Week — a new league record. But despite his recent form, including seven goals and three assists over the past three games, Henry isn’t happy.
The former French international is disappointed in how New York is performing, having given up four goals during this three-game stretch and failing to put in a complete 90 minutes of focused soccer this season. Henry scored twice last Saturday in a 4-1 win at Columbus, but after netting the game’s final goal late in the game, his celebration was muted.
He was miffed about the Red Bulls conceding a soft goal just moments before, ruining what could have been their first shutout of the season.
“All I was thinking about after the game was the way we played in the second half, we conceded a goal and should have conceded more. That’s my concern,” Henry said.
Despite a team offense that has clicked with 13 goals during their winning streak, Henry is still frustrated by their overall lack of effort and discipline on defense. He won’t call out players, but he clearly sees a better defensive effort as necessary for the team’s ultimate goal of winning some hardware this season.
“It’s a cliché saying, but everyone always says [that] defense wins championships,” Henry said.
“I do think that’s the way it is. Saying that as a striker isn’t an easy thing to say, but I do think it’s true.”
Right now though, the Red Bulls are winning and Henry is the talk of MLS. Henry came into the season already in-form, having spent the offseason on loan in England with his former club Arsenal.
His series of performances has lifted the Red Bulls from an 0-2 start to perhaps the hottest team in the league right now. Since his arrival in the summer of 2010, the Red Bulls have gone through dips in form, but never sustained a level to justify the biggest and most star-studded payroll in MLS.
Maybe the Red Bulls aren’t world beaters yet, but the team does look more balanced and deeper than last year’s side that started off strong and then went through a summer swoon.
“I don’t know. I remember we won some games at the beginning of the season last year and everybody was like ‘Who can beat this team?’ After [that] we went on a run of not winning for two months, drawing games for fun, not being great, being a normal team. You know how it is, the season is long,” Henry said.
“Let’s enjoy what’s happening right now, but also not sleep on it and work.”
Follow Red Bulls beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.