On Saturday night, the Red Bulls will host the San Jose Earthquakes, the team that knocked them out of the MLS Cup playoffs last fall. But they may face a bigger battle this week in trying to get star forward Thierry Henry healthy.
Three weeks ago, it was a nagging hamstring injury that sidelined the player for a match in Columbus, Ohio. Then late last week, Henry suffered what he termed a “chronic” Achilles injury which hampered him in Philadelphia. The injury has been a struggle for the player for seven years and he was unable to train Monday or Tuesday this week.
On Thursday, Henry, a feared striker when with Arsenal and Barcelona and arguably the most prolific scorer of his generation, was healthy and a full go during the Red Bull’s session at Montclair State University.
“He looked sharp today,” head coach Hans Backe said. “Lively, explosive.”
The Red Bulls need Henry, the $5.5 million signing last summer and the most expensive player in team history, to live up to his “lively, explosive” form on the playing field and not just during training. In 13 games last year, Henry scored just twice in league play and he has yet to find the back of the next this year for the Red Bulls. New York’s anemic offense that has scored just twice this year needs Henry to begin clicking.
While the league’s second most expensive player needs to begin scoring to justify his salary, the former French international acknowledges it is more about the team than his personal goal scoring account.
“I’m not at the stage of my career where I need to score 30, 40 goals,” Henry said. “We have to score, we have to win.”