We’re revisiting some of the top moments of the Red Bulls’ 2012 season from now until the end of the year. In this installment, we’ll take a look back at Thierry Henry’s first-career MLS hat trick.
Just six days after the Red Bulls claimed their first victory of the season over the Colorado Rapids in blow-out fashion at Red Bull Arena, New York posted another strong performance to lock up a win at home and level the team’s March record to 2-2.
The Mar. 31 victory was a monumental one on different levels, starting with the first-ever MLS meeting between the Red Bulls and Montreal Impact, and ending with Thierry Henry’s first-career MLS hat trick.
Match Highlights: NY 5, MTL 2
Henry entered the match with two goals and two assists over the first three matches, a strong start to say the least. By the end of the match against Montreal, he’d pump that total up to five goals and two assists.
It all started in the 28th minute when Henry drew the Red Bulls level off a strong header via a perfectly placed pass from Rafa Marquez to cancel out the 18th minute goal from Montreal's Sanna Nyassi. Just 10 minutes later, Montreal would retake the lead after Justin Mapp found the back of the net, but the tally would stand as the Impact’s last of the match. Ten minutes later it was Kenny Cooper who drilled one home from the penalty spot after Montreal’s Matteo Ferrari showed off skills more worthy of an MMA match than a soccer match when he took down Dax McCarty with a scissor kick.
And then, Henry hit the accelerator.
The Red Bulls captain rounded out the brace in the 56th minute with a turnaround shot off a pass from McCarty that ripped past a diving Donovan Ricketts.
In the 72nd minute, Jan Gunnar Solli crossed one into the box for a waiting Henry, who flicked a highlight-worthy assist to the foot of Mehdi Ballouchy, as the midfielder slipped it past Ricketts for his first of the season.
And finally, with time winding down and New York maintaining its grip on a 4-2 lead, Cooper placed a heavy shot on goal that bounced off Ricketts and to the charging foot of Henry, who was quick to place it into the netting for his fifth of the season and first-career MLS hat trick.
Henry’s performance in the 5-2 win over Montreal garnered him Player of the Week honors and entered him into early-season MVP considerations. On Nov. 26, Henry was named to MLS' Best XI for a second consecutive year.