After a successful loan spell in North London, Thierry Henry has begun his third season in Major League Soccer. The Arsenal legend is looking to build on his strong performances from 2011 and lead the New York Red Bulls to success as MLS kicks off its 17th season.
Each week, USA.Arsenal.com will provide a brief look at the progress of Thierry and the Red Bulls.
Columbus Crew 1-4 NEW YORK RED BULLS
Saturday, April 7
Columbus Crew Stadium – Columbus, OH
By Kevin Mooney
The New York Red Bulls all but erased their slow start to the season, winning their third straight game in impressive fashion. The strike duo of Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper once again shone with each player scoring twice in the 4-1 road win over Columbus Crew.
New York entered the game as the highest-scoring team in MLS, and arguably as the league's hottest club as well. And in Henry, they also feature the league's newly crowned Player of the Month.
It didn't take long to show why he won that award.
In the third minute, the Frenchman set up his strike partner with a long floating pass from near the touchline. Cooper controlled the ball with his chest, turned and fired a low shot inside the far post to hand New York the early lead.
Ten minutes later, Cooper struck again. Dane Richards's low shot from outside the area was deflected up high by a Crew defender. The ball came down to an onside Cooper who was just outside the six-yard box. The striker's header bounced low and just beyond the goalkeeper's reach to double the lead.
Henry nearly got his first in the 37th minute, when his snap-header from just inside the penalty area was saved by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. But three minutes later, Henry got his goal. He collected the ball from Roy Miller at the edge of the area, broke forward and tucked the ball around Gruenebaum and into the far corner.
Comfortably ahead at halftime, New York picked up where they left off in the second period. Dax McCarty set up Henry near the penalty spot in the 47th minute. The Arsenal legend held the ball up and would have scored his second of the day but for an impressive Gruenebaum save on his volley.
Just after the hour mark, Columbus finally showed up. In quick succession, Crew managed three excellent scoring opportunities. But two near misses by Emilio Renteria and a close-range save by Ryan Meara on Ethan Finlay preserved the clean sheet.
The score remained 3-0 in favor of the visitors until the 89th minute, when Crew captain Chad Marshall headed a Kirk Urso corner-kick past Meara.
But Henry quickly restored New York's three-goal lead when he found the top corner for his 7th goal in three games. The brace keeps him at the top of the MLS scoring race, and he now also sits second in the league in assists, shots and shots on goal.
The Red Bulls retained second place in the MLS Eastern Conference, and sit six points behind leaders Sporting Kansas City. Next up are San Jose Earthquakes at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, April 14.