Will Thierry Henry, former New York Red Bulls striker become Thierry Henry, new New York Red Bulls coach?
With speculation rife in Europe the storied striker is in talks to replace Chris Armas, the Red Bulls look to shake off their early season funk Saturday when they face the New England Revolution.
Henry wrapped up a phenomenal playing career with the Red Bulls, scoring 52 goals in 122 appearances following his arrival from Barcelona in 2010. The 1998 World Cup winner does not have as extensive nor successful CV as manager, with a failed stint at Ligue 1 side Monaco cut short in January after he won just four of 20 matches in all competitions.
But with NYRB (1-2-3) ninth in the Eastern Conference and winless in their last four matches, there are reports Red Bull ownership has grown anxious with Armas. Sky Sports reported Wednesday the organization was in talks to bring Henry to New York with the dual purpose of raising the club’s profile and commercial revenue streams.
The organization moved Armas’ predecessor – Jesse Marsch – to the staff of RB Leipzig of the German Bundesliga before the start of this season, and Marsch will take over RB Salzburg in Austria starting next season.
New York did avoid a fourth consecutive loss last Sunday but settled for a 2-2 draw at Sporting KC. Daniel Royer and Brian White scored second-half goals to provide a one-goal lead with 15 minutes to play, but the Red Bulls allowed an equalizer on 88 minutes. Compounding the frustration was a stoppage-time red card to playmaker Kaku, ruling him out of this match.
“We have a lot of good guys in the center, a lot of guys that are motivated, that have different qualities and we’re not going to be able to replace Kaku with another Kaku,” midfielder Sean Davis told NYRB’s official website. “But we do have several other options in the middle of the field that I think are more than capable of stepping in and having a big game.”
New England (1-1-5) is one of the few teams below NYRB in the standings, entering this contest last in the Eastern Conference on four points. The Revolution have lost back-to-back matches since their lone win, failing to score a goal in either contest following a 2-0 loss to reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United last Saturday.
Keeper Cody Cropper was under duress the entire match and finished with a career high-tying five saves – two of them on point-blank shots – as Atlanta had more shots on target (8) than New England had total (7).
“It’s only seven games into the season – there’s a lot of points on the table,” coach Brad Friedel told the team’s official website Tuesday, “and back-to-back wins changes a lot of things and a lot of people’s mentalities, so it’s very important that the staff stays positive, and very important that the players in the locker room stay positive.”
The home team won both matches last year, with the Revs winning 2-1 in the corresponding fixture. Teal Bunbury’s goal on 78 minutes proved decisive after Bradley Wright-Phillips and Diego Fagundez traded first-half goals.
(Brian White photo courtesy New York Red Bulls official Twitter account)