Henry closes first MLS season with quiet performance
HARRISON, N.J. – He had but six minutes on the field, plus stoppage time, and the Red Bulls prized Designated Player, Thierry Henry, went out of the playoffs without much to show.
Henry had missed the New York’s last two regular-season games and the first leg of the playoff series against San Jose last Saturday due to a knee injury, and was relegated to a substitute role in Thursday night’s 3-1 loss to the Earthquakes.
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With the few minutes the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker saw, he was unable to prevent the Red Bulls – who had the edge in possession and shots – from being bounced out of the playoffs, falling to San Jose 3-2 on aggregate.
“We had several opportunities, but … San Jose got three goals,” Henry said. “Ours just didn’t go through.”
It was a frustrating night for New York, who mustered an impressive 23 shots in the game, of which just five of were on goal.
Two days earlier, head coach Hans Backe made it clear that Henry would be available to play in the second leg against San Jose, but was still struggling with fitness and his final touch.
“We were thinking 20, 25 maximum minutes for him,” Backe said of his French striker. “His knee is not 100 percent. I think he could have helped us perhaps, but he can’t finish. He has pain all the time in his right knee, so it was kind of a panic [move] to use him.”
Despite the limited minutes and the obvious uneasiness Henry showed as he gingerly ran on the field, he almost wrote a storybook ending. In the 88th minute, just four after coming on, Henry met a corner kick with a diving header just outside the six-yard box, but sent it high.
WATCH: Henry's attempt at goal
In the end, it was just too little, too late, said Henry.
“You don’t win a game in the last five minutes of the game,” Henry said. “We started to play in the last 25 minutes of the game. It was not enough.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012.