In a match that played out like a 90-minute celebration of his heralded career, Henry set up what would would be the game-winning goal off a corner kick in New York’s 1-0 victory over Arsenal.
Despite the celebratory atmosphere at Red Bull Arena, Henry downplayed the overwhelming reception he received, choosing to look forward to New York’s next regular season Major League Soccer game on
“The fans obviously enjoyed it,” said Henry. “Like I said before, it wasn’t the most important thing to win the game, but at the end of the day we won it.
“The distraction is out of the way now and let’s concentrate on Salt Lake, because that will be a different type of game.”
Despite the fanfare, it was clear from the opening whistle that Henry was locked in. In the sixth minute, his shot was tipped just wide by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. Three minutes later, Henry delivered a beautiful through ball right to the foot of Red Bull forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who sailed his shot just wide.
However, in the 33rd minute, Henry finally delivered what the crowd came to see. Off a corner kick, the Red Bulls captain sent the ball to the far post, where it was headed by defenseman Jamison Olave to Wright-Phillips, who immediately sent it right to the back of the twine to put New York up 1-0.
In the end, the goal would be all the Red Bulls needed to knock off the reigning FA Cup champions.
“I’m sure he’s going to remember that,” Henry said of Wright-Phillips, who rooted for Henry’s Arsenal teams when he was younger. “It was special for him, because he’s an Arsenal fan. I guess he never thought that one day he was going to beat Arsenal with a winning goal.”
For Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Henry’s assist was nothing he hasn’t seen before from his former star.
“Thierry can be dangerous from everywhere,” said Wenger, who coached Henry, a fellow French native, from 1999 until 2007. “He understands very quickly what he can take advantage of. He was sharp today and you can see why he was a great player.”
While there was no doubting that the night belonged to Henry, Red Bull goalkeeper Luis Robles did his best to steal the show. The 30-year-old from Arizona made some key stops down the stretch, including a brilliant save on Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla in the 38th minute, to keep the Gunners off of the board and preserve the 1-0 victory.
As the minutes begin to tick down, and with a meaningful matchup against Real Salt Lake on the horizon, Red Bull manager Mike Petke began to pull some of his better players, including Henry, who left in the 53rd to a standing ovation.
After the final whistle blew, the Arsenal legend took a lap around the field to thank the fans of both squads for their support.
“It was nice to see the stadium full,” said Henry. “They were all Arsenal fans and Red Bulls fans – it was the best of both worlds for me.
“It was a special moment for me.”
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