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.
NEW YORK RED BULLS 3-1 Columbus Crew
Saturday, September 15
Red Bull Arena – Harrison, NJ
By Kevin Mooney
Thierry Henry put in a masterclass performance as the Red Bulls extended their unbeaten run to five games in a win over Columbus Crew. The Arsenal legend picked up a brace -- including an absolute stunner in second half stoppage time -- and added an assist as New York continued their march toward the MLS playoffs.
Despite the final scoreline, the game got off to a rocky start and the visitors stunned the crowd when they took the lead in the third minute. New York suffered a defensive breakdown when Columbus forward Jairo Arrieta blew past Connor Lade on the left side of the penalty area and sent in a low cross that Milovan Mirosevic easily tapped in past Bill Gaudette.
But it didn't take long for the home side to regain their footing. From just beyond the center line, Rafa Marquez floated a pass over top and into the path of Henry. The Frenchman controlled the ball with an impecable first touch and slotted the ball past the Columbus goalkeeper.
The two teams traded chances to take the lead in the span of three minutes. Columbus went first in the 15th minute courtesy of a Mirosevic but his header was just off the mark. New York then piled on the pressure with a strong build up in front of the Columbus goal. Wilman Conde floated a long cross toward the back post and Kenny Cooper, but the striker's headed attempt sailed over the cross bar.
Henry nearly struck again in the 20th minute. In a play similar to New York's first goal, Dax McCarty fired the ball from near the center line in front of a breaking Henry. But this time the pass had a bit too much weight on it. Although he did catch up before the ball crossed the touchline, Henry's attempt from an impossible angle rolled across the face of the goal.
The game continued to be wide open throughout the second half, with the next good opportunity coming from Henry's strike partner, Cooper. McCarty fed Cooper with a low pass, but Cooper's quick shot was deftly blocked by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum.
The goalkeeper kept Columbus in the game early in the second half when a flurry of Red Bull shots was capped by a bending McCarty effort. The ballk was on it's way in before a sprawling Gruenebaum parried the ball out of danger.
The Red Bulls once again nearly took the lead in the 78th minute, but Gruenebaum again made a magnificent save - just getting his hand on an Henry shot from nine yards out sending the ball off the woodwork and out.
But New York would finally take the lead on the resulting corner kick. Henry placed the outswinger perfectly and McCarty outjumped the defenders and headed it into the back of the net.
Henry would then cap the win with a spectacular goal in stoppage time. Taking a corner from the left side, he bypassed his players in front of the goal and fired a curling shot off the far post and into the net for his 13th goal of the season.
Video courtesy of NewYorkRedBulls.com
With just six games left in the regular season, the Red Bulls currently sit third in the MLS Eastern Conference. But a win on Wednesday against leaders Sporting Kansas City could catapult them to the top of the table.