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.
Toronto FC 1-1 New York Red Bulls
Saturday, June 30
BMO Field – Toronto, ON
By Kevin Mooney
Henry got his first start in more than a month as the Red Bulls traveled to Toronto in a first vs worst match-up against Toronto FC. New York was looking to hold on to at least a share of first in the Eastern Conference, but despite a number of close calls, the home side was able to hold on for the draw.
The Red Bulls came out of the gates with guns blazing and Henry was among six New York players to have a hand in the game's opening goal. Goalkeeper Ryan Meara fired a long free kick from his own end deep into Toronto territory, and a quick touch by William Conde allowed Henry to head the ba ll out of traffic back toward Dane RIchards. Richards then turned and fed right-back Brandon Barklage out wide. Solli met Barklage's cross from six yards out and volleyed the ball past Milos Kocic to hand New York the early lead.
But the home team struck back less than two minutes later. Left unmarked on a set piece, Toronto's leading socrer Danny Koevermans headed home the equalizer off Torsten Frings' corner.
Toronto nearly took the lead a few minutes later when Reggie Lambe burst forward while holding off two Red Bull defenders. Lambe got off a shot as Meara rushed out, but Conde was there to clear the ball off the line
Twenty minutes later, Henry nearly put New York back ahead, but the Frenchman' quick free-kick from 35 yards was tipped out over the crossbar by Kocic.
The first half ended in a flurry with both team's creating chances to take the lead into the break. New York's came first when Kenny Cooper attempted to redirect a Joel Lindpere cross, but the striker could only manage to find the left post. A minute later on the other end, Koevermans also just missed a close range attempt as the clock wound down.
After scoring quickly to start the first half, New York again looked to exploit Toronto's defense early in teh second. Four minutes in, Henry launched a shot from long range, but it sailed just wide of the target.
Henry would again try to make magic happen from distance later in the half. His long, low pass led Lindpere into the area. But before the midfielder could get a shot, he was knocked down by a Toronto defender. The referee ignored shouts for a penalty and the scoreline remained even.
The draw, combined with a home win for DC United, sees New York slip into second place in the MLS Eastern Conference, two points behind their archrivals. Next up for the Red Bulls is a Sunday trip to New England to take on the Revolution.