The worst kept secret in MLS finally became a fact on Wednesday with the news that French star Thierry Henry had come to terms on a multi-year deal with the New York Red Bulls. The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker is still one of the world’s most popular players, as evidenced by the media coverage Henry has received over the past couple of days.
A veteran of four World Cups, Henry is expected to give MLS the best attacking duo in league history, as he will be paired with Juan Pablo Angel, to this point the best pure striker this league has ever seen.
New York will still need a playmaker to make sure Henry sees enough of the ball, but you have to like this signing, both for New York and for Major League Soccer.
Rumors continue to swirl about more big signings in MLS, but teams need to be careful. The salary cap doesn’t leave a ton of room for mistakes. We’ve seen teams get burnt in the past for foolish DP signings. Just look at Dallas, when they signed Denilson, or DC United when they brought in Marcelo Gallardo.
The most recent mistake was Houston’s signing last year of Luis Angel Landin. The team cut their losses this week, when they released Landin.
Quick thoughts on tomorrow’s game between Philadelphia and Toronto:
When the two teams met earlier this year in Toronto, Philadelphia was clearly the better team, but still lost 2-1 back on April 15th. A first half red card to Danny Califf changed the game, but Philadelphia surely at least deserved a point in this one.
As the Union get ready to face Toronto for a second and final time, this is a different Toronto team. This is a more confident side, coming into PPL Park with an eight game unbeaten streak in MLS.
Dwayne De Rosario leads the way with eight goals and three assists, with three of his goals serving as game winners. Stop De Ro and you surely have increased your chances of winning the match. On the defensive side, Preki’s team has only allowed one goal in their last four games. They are not easy to break down.
Philadelphia will need to be disciplined in the attack, keeping their team shape. Fred, who has picked up his game recently, could become the key player for the home side tomorrow. The more creative Fred is, the more scoring chances Philadelphia should earn with Sebastien Le Toux and Danny Mwanga. The rookie forward will celebrate his 19th birthday on Saturday at PPL Park.
One thing is for sure: heads must be up and on a swivel. When you play against De Rosario you have to know where he is at all times, even when your team has the ball. A quick loss of possession can lead to a counter attack with De Rosario leading the way.
I’m looking forward to my first game at PPL Park. See you at the stadium.