Thierry Henry and Davy Arnaud - April 12
USA Today Sports

Petke, Henry encouraged with team's performance despite loss

It's easy to look at the Red Bulls winless start to season and be worried. But despite dominating Saturday night's match - a loss at D.C. - Thierry Henry was just the opposite.

"We lost a game that we shouldn't have lost," Henry told the media afterwards. "All credit to DC, took advantage and started better than us. We tried to come back, as you saw, in any way possible. After around 30 minutes into the game, I thought we dominated the game. It wasn't enough to win the game."

New York went down after four minutes when United midfielder Davy Arnaud got on the end of a flicked corner kick to put D.C. ahead. The Red Bulls proceeded to tilt the field in their favor, creating chance after chance but could not find the equalizer.

"I'm very critical usually, but if you carry on playing like we played in the second half, in the games that are coming soon, hopefully we can get on a good run," Henry added. "There is nothing to say about how we played after 30 minutes. I thought we passed the ball well, we created chances. Sometimes we were a little bit unlucky...I don't think we deserved to lose, but full credit to DC - they won the game."

Coach Mike Petke saw much of the same as his star forward.

"Hats off to DC for getting a result," Petke said. "However at the end of the day, we were the better team tonight, but the better team doesn't always win. I'm very optimistic and very excited about a lot that I saw out of my players. But at the end of the day, we're in a results business and we didn't get the result."

Henry was visible in his encouragement toward teammates, especially in the second, where was often seen clapping and giving teammates thumbs up as they attacked.

"What I was concerned about with the beginning of the season was with how we were playing," Henry said. "I don't think we put in a decent performance since the beginning of the season. And for me, it was a very long time that we played like we played today - playing football, not playing long ball and hoping we can score on a counter attack. Today we played the way football should be played. We didn't score. So that's why I'm pretty positive about the way we can rectify that, if we carry on playing the way we played in the second half."

The stats show New York created 19 attempts on goal. However the same stats show that 13 of those attempts where off target. But for Petke, it showed that the team can be creative and cause other teams problems.

"Very encouraged, but also at the same time I'm scratching my head saying 'where has this been for large parts of the previous games?' They obviously have it in them," Petke said. "All we can do is build off of this. All we can do is for them to take this and really let it sink in: watch the video, see what went right, and to repeat it."

The team takes a six-game winless streak into Wednesday's home match versus Philadelphia. Although still early, Petke admits that the slow start is starting to wear on the team.

"This is our sixth game tonight, now it's starting to creep in a little bit, you know," he confessed. "We're still far from pushing the panic button, anything like that. Now it's getting to the point - especially after a game like this...But overall, we're a good team. We have good players. And we showed that tonight."