HARRISON, N.J. – Fired up and on fire: That was Thierry Henry on Saturday as he led the New York Red Bulls to a commanding 4-1 victory over the Columbus Crew.
Henry put on a show against a Columbus side that finished with 10 men at Red Bull Arena, scoring a goal and delivering a hat trick of assists in a win that extended the club’s unbeaten streak to five.
The masterful performance runs Henry to a career total of 37 assists in a Red Bulls uniform, pushing him into first place in all-time club history.
The win in front of 17,028 fans created some separation between the two Eastern Conference teams, who entered the game with identical 4-5-8 records. The Crew is now winless in their last seven and have not won a League match since May 24.
Henry set up the entertaining game’s opener in the 17th minute, receiving a defense-splitting through ball from Eric Alexander before hitting a square a pass to MLS Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips for a simple finish.
The Red Bulls captain then scored on a shot that looked effortless but was tougher than it appeared just before halftime, stroking a rebound into the top corner of an unguarded net after Wright-Phillips saw two efforts denied at close range.
The goal canceled out substitute forward Adam Bedell’s equalizer and snapped a scoreless streak that dated back to April 23. But there was no celebration from Henry as he immediately urged his defensive teammates to sharpen up after the errors that led to Bedell's strike.
Try as it might, Columbus had no answer for the masterful Henry. He set up Lloyd Sam’s second goal of the season in the 56th minute and fed Alexander in the game's dying moments.
Adding insult to injury for the Crew was the fact that they lost forward Jairo Arrieta to injury in the first half and Bernardo Anor to a late ejection for kicking the ball at a fallen Chris Duvall, drawing his second yellow card.
Both teams continue their respective three-games-in-eight-days stretches with matches on Wednesday. The Red Bulls will head south to take on the Philadelphia Union, while the Crew hosts Sporting Kansas City.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Thierry Henry||What more can be said of TH14? Still scoring, still playmaking, still fit, focused and driven. Worth the price of admission, and then some.|
|2||Bradley Wright-Phillips||Hopefully All-Star voters watched BWP tonight: A constant menace around goal and his movement made space for Henry to wreak havoc.|
Not long ago he was seen as out of his depth in central midfield. Not this time. His vision, range and skill were excellent.