July 20, 2012
STILL FINDING HIS RHYTHM
Henry: 'I just need now to play, I need minutes'
Kristian R. Dyer
|Thierry henry: "I’m fighting fitness and trying to get back into shape and trying not to get injured, especially in the heat we had before."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Injuries did what no MLS defender could seemingly do earlier this season and slow down Thierry Henry.
Through the first eight games of the ajor League Soccer season, the Red Bulls captain and forward registered eight goals and five assists - clearly showing that the form from his Arsenal winter loan spell had carried over to his full-time employer. But since that torrid start, Henry has battled injuries to his calf and hamstring and has been limited minutes and effectiveness.
Now, however, Henry has started both Red Bulls games over the past week and is poised for another go this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Philadelphia.
“I feel good,” Henry said after training at Montclair State University on Friday.
“I’ve started only four games since April. It’s not a lot but that’s the thing, I’m fighting fitness and trying to get back into shape and trying not to get injured, especially in the heat we had before. Like I said, we have to do it that way and I’m not the only one.”
On April 28, Henry limped off the field at the 25th minute with the help of team trainers, having suffered a hamstring injury. Since then, he has had to fight back from that tweak along with calf injuries. Complicating the issue has been schedule congestion and games on artificial surfaces, which Henry has said in the past aggravate his injuries.
But for this weekend and looking ahead, Henry said that he has returned to health with no lingering effects from his hamstring and calf injuries plus a “chronic” Achilles injury.
“I just need now to play, I need minutes. I’ve said to you over the past two or three months or so, I’ve started only four games," he said. "I need to get back on track and be healthy, that’s the most important thing."
“So far so good. Just [need] the amount of minutes to get the rhythm back.”
This past Wednesday, Henry scored the only goal in the Red Bulls' 1-0 win over Chicago. His brilliant left-footed effort off the right post midway through the second half propelled New York into second place in the Eastern Conference.
Now with a derby match against the Union on Saturday afternoon, the team captain is eyeing seven points from its last three games.
“We were hoping for nine, obviously we know we can’t get nine,' he said. "Again, it’s a confidence game. You want to beat Philly – they’re doing extremely well at the moment. They’re in form at the moment.
“As you know it won’t be an easy game but we want to win and that’s what we want. We want to stay in the position we’re at right now.”