June 23, 2012
Henry: Red Bulls show they are stronger than last year's team
UPPER MONCLAIR, N.J. -- Believe it or not, team captain Thierry Henry is happy the Red Bulls have yet to play at full strength this season.
|Thierry Henry: "I am actually happy we didn't yet put the full squad on the field and we're actually battling. Last year we already had fallen from everytrhing."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
He felt it has allowed several role players to step in and step up their play and develop the team's depth and the Red Bulls' won-lost record as well.
The Red Bulls (8-4-3, 27 points) have overcome injuries and suspensions to be in third place in the Eastern Conference as they enter their Sunday 7 p.m. confrontation with first-place D.C. United (9-4-3, 30) at Red Bull Arena.
"I'm actually happy," Henry said after practice at Montclair State University on Saturday. "Last year we were complaining about it. I have been saying for a long time that you win a league when you have a good squad. I am actually happy we didn't yet put the full squad on the field and we're actually battling. Last year we already had fallen from everytrhing."
Henry used the Miami Heat, who captured the NBA title on Thursday night, as a prime example.
"We always know what Lebron James is going to do what he is going to do," he said, adding Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to the category as well.
"The role players. That's where you win the title."
Added Henry: "That's how a team works. I'm actually happy that I missed some games. Rafa [Marquez] missed some games and we're fighting with D.C. and Kansas City. To me, that's pretty refreshing."
Henry, who missed the two most recent road matches in Chicago and Vancouver after aggravating a calf injury in practice, said he was ready to play against United.
He said he was feeling "way better. way better. Maybe I should have gone on holiday the week we had off. But I wanted to stay and stay fit and I triggered my calf. I don't want to have another setback."
And that includes a setback against United, which handed the Red Bulls a 4-1 road loss on April 22. That result woke the Red Bulls, who went on a six-game unbeaten streak.
"They gave us a good game," Henry said. "We needed that because after that a good run. D.C. is in first because they deserve to be. They have some good strikers. If you let De Ro [Dwayne De Rosario] play, he can kill you. They defend well and they create. in this league if you go on good run or bad run, you can get high pretty quickly or down pretty quickly."