Thierry Henry vs Chicago on March 23, 2014
USA Today Sports

Petke's shift of Henry behind forwards proved helpful against Chicago

Head coach Mike Petke blamed himself for the team's 4-1 season opening loss in Vancouver, saying his "gameplan was obviously wrong."

In Sunday's 1-1 draw in Chicago, he looks to moved the right pieces.

Seeing a trend of opposing team's run right down the Red Bulls spine in the first two matches, Petke dropped midfielder Dax McCarty further back, and then shifted star striker Thierry Henry into the middle against the Fire.

"Thierry is a guy who drops back and likes to have the ball at his feet," explained Petke after the match. "All of a sudden we're having problems with other teams penetrating us through the middle, so why not drop Dax back to blockade that and bring Thierry back so he doesn't have to run back all the time - put him in that position. I think he did well. He was able to have the view of the field in front of him with the ball, instead of checking back a lot."

The numbers back it up. New York controlled possession and moved the ball around the field better than any match this year.

"I think Thierry helped us a lot in possession" said McCarty. "His role was a little different - instead of him being so high up along with Tim (Cahill), he dropped into the midfield a lot more to help us keep the ball. I thought our movement was really good in the middle of the field. I thought that our wide guys did a good job of giving us width, but also coming in and finding really good spots in behind their midfield to help us out."

While the shift helped pull out a road result, Petke was not ready to make it a permanent move for his All-Star forward.

"For today on the day, it was great," Petke said of Henry playing behind the forward line. "Going forward we'll have to re-analyze and look at things."