July 30, 2010
'WORLD CLASS STRIKE FORCE'
Ching on the new Henry-Angel partnership
By Ian Thomson and Michael Lewis
|Brian Ching on Thierry Henry (above) and Juan Pablo Angel: "Having him and Juan Pablo up front, I think that's a world class strike force right there. It's going to be a joy to watch and I hope fans are paying attention."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HOUSTON -- They could very well be the most dangerous dynamo duo in all of MLS.
At least Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching thinks so about Thierry Henry, who will join Juan Pablo Angel as a double-strike force this weekend. In fact, Henry will make his MLS debut against Ching and the Dynamo at Robertson Stadium here Saturday night (MSG, 8:30 p.m.)
"I think any time the league brings in a DP player it benefits the league, it raises the level, especially a player who is arguably still in his prime," Ching said Wednesday after the MLS all-star game at Reliant Stadium.
"Having him and Juan Pablo up front, I think that's a world class strike force right there. It's going to be a joy to watch and I hope fans are paying attention."
But a headache to cover. But as a forward, Ching certainly can appreciate what another goal-scorer brings not only to a team, but to the league as well.
"Hopefully Thierry performs like Juan Pablo does," he said. "If you're in the New York area and you're not going to watch that team play, I think there's something wrong with you if you're playing soccer."
Angel is second in the league to leader Edson Buddle of the Los Angeles Galaxy (12 goals) with nine.
Of course, Ching doesn't always hope the best for Henry.
"I wish him the best, except for on Saturday when we play them," he said.
"I haven't trained with him at all because I've been away for a few days, but I'm looking forward to the game. I want to start getting to play again and hopefully starting to build up a partnership and hopefully have a good end of the season."
Houston midfielder Brad Davis, a former MetroStar who has fed goal-scorers like Ching for years, can appreciate someone who can fill the bit.
"He's going to bring a lot of goals to the league," he said. "It's fantastic to continue to see big-name guys coming from Europe. I wish we could get them around some other teams besides L.A. and New York."
Davis said that Henry "and Juan Pablo are going to be a tough nut to crack, but we really need to get on a roll ourselves and we need to start getting some points real quick."
The Red Bulls' Saturday night opponents aren't the only ones who think that Henry's signing will help the league.
"I've always said from the get-go, its a slippery slope that we have to sort of walk in terms of which players they decide to sign and which players they don't," Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Peter Vagenas said. "The last thing you want is this league being labeled a retirement league. But at the same time, someone like him and I've obviously yet to play against him -- I think he's only 31- or 32-years-old -- so he still has a lot of football genius left in him.
"Everyone in the league is excited. It will be interesting to see how he does. It's a huge signing for MLS and I think its great for the Red Bulls."
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said there was nothing but a positive side for Henry.
"He's a player that's extremely well known, a guy who has played in a number of World Cups," he said. "He's won a World Cup. He has accomplished things that how many players who have played in our league have? It's a plus.
"How big of an impact is it going to be? It's always hard to say. If he stays injury free, he certainly has enough qualities to do well. There's enough physical ability. . . . If he is sharp and prepared, his quality will show through."