Doesn’t it seem like every club in Europe is somewhere in the United States over these few weeks, playing warmup matches and making odd publicity appearances? Thierry Henry scoring on Spurs yet again, but this time after “Coming to America” (really MSG?), making a memorable appearance on NY1, and taking the lovely PATH train from Manhattan to Harrison NJ; Sir Alex eating ribs while competing with a gospel choir in Kansas City; Cristian Ronaldo lecturing at UCLA (hat tip for that link to faculty member Steve Lee (although some are pushing him to try out for goalkeer on the 2014 South Korean squad–Be the Reds Steve–literally!)); and hapless Portsmouth on the pre-season tour from hell.
With the addition of Rafael Márquez, the NY Red Bulls have put together a team bound to impress. There’s been a lot of atteniton thrown to the front line in the past few weeks, but Márquez is the piece that takes this team from contendor to champion.
You’d think with Henry and Angel up top the wins would come with ease, but a potent attack isn’t automatic, and holding a lead is not easy. Having seen some of the world’s best offenses bearing down upon him, Márquez will sit either in the back line or just in front of it and look to interrupt the attacking motion. He’ll also lend vision moving forward, starting counters with intelligently played balls and knowing when to settle the team into a patient attack.
Classy players that they are, Henry and Angel are already gelling, and Lindpere has impressed with his service from the wings. But, as with most teams in the MLS, the Red Bulls’ defense has been porous and easily pulled apart. If he does his job right, Márquez will provide the Red Bulls with a solid base to launch an attack that is going to be fun to watch.
The last time I had been to a Spurs game was April 21st, 2007 – the day before I moved to NY. The game was a league match against our most hated rival, Arsenal, and had ended in a draw after a last minute equaliser for Tottenham. Thanks to a pre-season tour to the US, I was able to go and see Spurs in action again tonight, this time against NY Red Bulls and their new player, our old foe Thierry Henry. His association with Arsenal will never be forgotten for Tottenham fans and so, a game that could have been a routine tune up game, had that little bit more spice to it.
Travelling with my wife to the game, we arrived at the World Trade Center PATH station a good couple of hours before the game and it was somewhat surreal to hear the familiar chants I’d usually hear at Seven Sisters being belted out in downtown Manhattan. At the stadium, our seats were not far from the main section of Spurs fans
and, though there were plenty of Red Bulls fans
around me also, it definitely felt like home territory.
Henry was introduced to inevitable boos, Spurs players fresh for a new season were cheered on heartily as the teams were announced.
They’ve just kicked off at Red Bulls Arena in Harrison, NJ. Well, we’re not in beautiful industrial north Jersey–we haven’t left Brooklyn all day. But we do have a CultFootball contributor on the scene–an Englishman, and a Spurs fan no less. We’ll be getting a game report from him at some point in the near future..but in the meantime we’ll be throwing up some real-time commentary from the comfort of our couch(es).
We can’t remember a more anticipated game involving an MLS team–because tonight is Thierry Henry’s debut with the Red Bulls. The game is being televised on both Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports Espanol..and is also being streamed on the oddly named (but rather slick-looking) video broadcaster Veetle.com.
Below the jump (of after the bump, as some prefer to say)…starting lineups and some occasional liveblogging.
I’ve been watching Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly in the morning for…well never, but I see them a lot on the Soup, constantly upping the ante on idiocy. There are a few gems from their Thierry Henry interview, particularly when they suggest he’s just come back from winning the World Cup, and when they ask him when the MLS season starts (it’s mid-season already, people).
On his part, Henry could’ve dressed a little better. I know it’s just these two Fox drones, but a t-shirt, jeans, and high-tops? We know you want to live “downtown”, but you do know khakis are the new skinny jean, no? Anyway, here’s the clip. Welcome to America, where we like blowouts.