Henry Watch – Montreal Impact 3 New York Red Bulls 1

July 28th 2012 – MLS Regular Season

Vs. MONTREAL IMPACT (A) @Stade Saputo.

TEAMS

NEW YORK RED BULLS – 4-4-2

Gaudette; Solli, Miller, Conde, Holgersson; McCarty, Lindpere, Lade, Le Toux; Henry, Cooper.

MONTREAL IMPACT – 4-2-3-1

Ricketts; Camara, Brovsky, Rivas, Nesta; Warner, Bernier; Arnaud, Mapp, Martins; Di Vaio.

PREAMBLE

Whilst his New York team mates had a full week to recover from their hectic home schedule, Henry packed in another game, representing the MLS All Stars in their 3-2 victory over Chelsea. Fresh from that victory, in which he assisted Chris Wondolowski’s opener it was off to Montreal to take on the latest MLS franchise.

Owing to this season’s lopsided schedule this was the third time that New York had played the MLS newcomers, the first two fixtures resulting in comfortable New York victories. After a poor start to the season the Impact managed to get back on track and now sit above more fancied outfits like Philadelphia and Toronto in the Eastern Conference. Montreal have been active in the transfer market, signing Serie A veterans Marco Di Vaio and Alessandro Nesta – the latter making his debut in this match.

New York continue to field, by their standards, a settled side. The only change here was the introduction of Jan Gunnar Solli at right back to cover the injured Brandon Barklage. Le Toux continued wide on the right with Cooper up top alongside Henry. There was no place for Cahill, recently signed as New York’s third Designated Player, as he settles into life stateside.

HIGHLIGHTS

The opening exchanges were quite open with New York just about managing the better of the early chances. The first effort of note came when Henry swung in a tantalising free kick which Cooper rose to head at Ricketts. The Jamaican stopper could only manage to spill the ball to Holgersson who was too eager and fired over from close range.

Chances continued to come for both sides. Cooper had another effort blocked from close range whilst at the other end Bill Gaudette, retaining his place even though rookie keeper Ryan Meara was back in contention, managed to repel good chances from Justin Mapp and Di Vaio.

It was something of a surprise that the game remained goalless until the break. It didn’t take long after the restart to put that right. On 48 minutes some poor positioning from Solli at right back allowed Di Vaio to notch his first MLS goal.

Just two minutes later and the lead was doubled, largely due to some more shambolic New York defending. As Montreal advanced the New York back line appeared in disarray and a feeble attempt at an offside trap was easily sprung by Felipe Martins who released Davy Arnaud to double the hosts’ lead.

New York managed to drag themselves back into contention just six minutes later.

GOAL – On 56’ minutes Henry pulled off the ball watching defence and onto the far post. Joel Lindpere found the unmarked Frenchman who took a touch and exploited the poor positioning of Ricketts and dinked neatly into the unguarded net. 2-1, Henry’s 11th of the season. 

A late Red Bulls resurgence looked on but they couldn’t find the breakthrough. In the end the game was put out of reach, again the result of some sloppy defending. Lindpere looked to play the ball back to Conde but made an awful mess of it and instead allowed Martins to release Nyassi to clip home the third from a tight angle.

OVERALL PERFORMANCE

Henry was again the most dangerous New York player, delivering quality set pieces and managing their only goal. He’s now played five games in just two weeks and still has a friendly against Sp*rs and the trip to Houston to come this week. Despite his injury hit season to date, Henry has managed to stand up to this rigorous test surprisingly well. It would be an odd decision if Backe allowed him to play a full game against his old foes from North London but he should feature prominently in the all important league fixture in Houston.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RBNY?

Despite Montreal’s recent improvement the Red Bulls will still be disappointed to have thrown away points in a winnable game. They created chances but it was the poor defending we saw in early season that came back to haunt them here. New York have great depth going forward, the addition of Cahill will only add to that, but when key players are missing at the back they appear vulnerable. Solli began the season at right back but after this performance one can only expect that Brandon Barklage has cemented his spot in the first XI without even playing. New York will now have to refocus ahead of a potentially pivotal double header against last season’s MLS Cup Finalists, Houston Dynamo, now just one point behind New York at the top of the East.

NEXT FIXTURES

July 31st 2012 – Friendly

Vs. SCUM (H) @Red Bull Arena.

August 3rd 2012 – MLS Regular Season

Vs. HOUSTON DYNAMO (A) @BBVA Compass Stadium.