Friday, July 23, 2010

Henry Debut

No. That title doesn't read Hen-ree De-Butt. And no, don't let ESPN try to tell you they were playing Tot-en-Ham. Last night, Red Bull Arena witnessed the debut of proper French cuisine. Harrison, New Jersey's best au jous. Okay, you get the point. Thierry Henry made his US and MLS debut last night with 45 minutes of intelligent, creative, and, at times, mesmerizing football. Oh, and he scored a goal.

For fans of the game in this country, it was an epic night. Not in the way ESPN and most of the media will portray it for you simply because he scored (after all, yanks only care about goals...). But it was so much more than that. He was employed as a central striker where he can be most damaging. Yeh, Tottenham held the ball for long spells. And to be honest I kinda felt bad for Henry during these spells as Tottenham exposed the mammoth gap between MLS and the rest of the world simply by knocking the ball around. But when the Red Bulls reclaimed possession, and they did many times, Henry served as the pivot man in the final third.

Whether it was his positioning, passing, or movements off the ball into open space, we saw everything this man can still offer. As for the goal itself, what a thing of beauty. Joel Lindpere skinned Alan Hutton sending a perfect cross into the middle. Just watch Henry while Lindpere beats his man, and then his instinctive run towards the near post to receive the pass. The shot itself was a beauty to watch as well.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves here yet. It was only his first game and 45 minutes at that. But for everyone watching, they saw what very well could be the best foreign superstar to perform in this country's domestic league in its 17 year history.

Thought I'd finish without mentioning Beckham? He's a crock. And Henry will ensure that nobody will ever remember anything Beckham contributed to MLS on the field.

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