Following news of the recently scheduled July 31 friendly between New York and Tottenham, Spurs goalkeeper Brad Friedel jokingly admitted he was excited for the opportunity for his own selfish reasons; a bit of a homecoming, if you will. But while Friedel will be making his return to familiar turf in the United States, he will also be doing so against a former foe as well – Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry.
“He just has an aura about him,” Friedel said. “Again, you sort of pinch yourself that Thierry Henry’s playing in the MLS.”
He also cited the Red Bulls’ big-name players like Rafa Marquez, Henry and Juan Agudelo as the sort of guys who make New York a dangerous side that can beat a lot of teams on any given day. Although he’s yet to step foot in Red Bull Arena, Friedel doesn’t expect the atmosphere will be any different than what he’s used to.
“The facilities are going to be a top draw,” Friedel said. “The competition is going to be very good. All the hotels and the food and everything, all the players will be in a good mood.”
And it’s not like he’s exactly a stranger to MLS. The Ohio native backstopped the Columbus Crew for two seasons (1996-97) before taking his play over the pond in his England debut with Liverpool.
Since then, the 40-year-old goalkeeper and former member of the US National Team has spent the past 15 years in England, including stops in the aforementioned Liverpool, Blackburn and Aston Villa before settling down with Tottenham ahead of the 2011 campaign.
Tottenham’s trip to the states will also include a stop in Los Angeles to take on David Beckham and the Galaxy, but Friedel was quick to admit there is a distinct difference between both former EPL stars playing on separate US coasts.
“Henry’s a little bit different than Beckham though,” Friedel said. “I think, well Beckham is the big, big media presence. Thierry just wanted to go in and be one of the players.”
“He’s a tremendous player, a tremendous professional and a very good guy.”
The Red Bulls host Tottenham July 31 as part of a three-match pack that also includes the Mar. 31 match against the Montreal Impact and June 24 meeting against rival DC United. Get your tickets here.