Fire defenders talk how to stop Red Bull's Thierry Henry

Limiting chances for New York Frenchman will be key to Fire success Sunday

Thierry Henry

Photo Credit: 
USA Today Sports Images

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. -- While there would certainly be a debate about it, Thierry Henry is arguably the best player to ever come to Major League Soccer.

Since coming to MLS in 2010, the former Arsenal and Barcelona striker has continued to display his nose for goal with the New York Red Bulls, with his 32 goals in 66 games keeping him just under a goal every other match.

Henry's Wonder Strike vs. Fire (7/18/2012)

Add his 19 total assists and the Frenchman has produced a goal or an assist every 108 minutes for Red Bull.

“Obviously his resume speaks for itself,” said Fire captain Logan Pause “He’s a guy you have to keep your eye on at all times.”

This Fire squad knows all too well how dangerous Henry can be. Think back to a sweltering afternoon last July in New Jersey. Through the first 70 minutes of the match, the Fire sat in and absorbed the Red Bull pressure in the 100-degree heat of Harrison, N.J.

One minute later, Henry did well to chest down a long cross-field pass from Sebastien Le Toux before uncorking an unbelievable left-footed strike past Sean Johnson and in off the right post.

“That goal is a perfect example of his danger,” said Fire defender Austin Berry. “All it took was one long ball and he hits an unbelievable shot. We worked hard all game to get a result and dropped the match on a wonder strike.”

The Fire weren’t the first team Henry has done it too and they certainly won’t be the last.

Henry Game Winner vs. Philadelphia (3/30/2013)

Henry showed his class again just last weekend. After coming on as a second half substitute against Philadelphia, he expertly took down a chipped cross from Peguy Luyindula with his right knee before finishing past Union ‘keeper Zac MacMath with his left.

It was all one, fluid motion.

“You have to stay sharp all the time. You look at their game last week – one little chance that Henry has, he puts it away. He has such great quality that you just can’t lose track of him. If he gets a chance, he’ll almost always make you pay.”

Luckily for the Fire, they have a road map to success against Henry. The swarming defensive effort from Pause, Berry, Segares, Arne Friedrich and Jalil Anibaba served to frustrate the Red Bull striker throughout the match before a brace from Sherjill MacDonald put the side on the brink of its first playoff appearance since 2009.

“You take away from that he doesn’t need many chances to score so you try to eliminate his touches,” said Pause. “When he does get them, hopefully they come in parts of the field that aren’t dangerous. He’ll get looks on Sunday, we just have to minimize that.”