Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
The increasingly prominent fear among New York Red Bulls supporters that Thierry Henry's tenure in the Big Apple will ultimately end up being an injury-laden bust was given a little more credence Tuesday when coach Hans Backe told the New York Post that Henry's chronic Achilles injury is causing "so much pain, so we just have to take it day-by-day."
The ailment, Backe said, has plagued Henry for more than five years. With the Frenchman's availability for Saturday's match against San Jose in doubt, Backe noted he could shift newly acquired attacking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario to a supporting striker role behind Juan Agudelo and add another midfielder to the mix. Partnering Luke Rodgers up top with Agudelo would be another alternative.
Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:
As Chicago prepares for the daunting task of opening up JELD-WEN Field for the Portland Timbers' first home fixture as an MLS side, the Fire should have speedy winger Patrick Nyarko available after he escaped a tough tackle from Seattle's Servando Carrasco on Saturday relatively unscathed.
"Initially, I thought it was bad myself," Nyarko told ESPN Chicago on Monday. "It's nothing but a big bruise. We just got done with training, even though we didn't do too much, and I'm shooting for Thursday."
After partnering centerback Julius James, acquired during the preseason after he was released by D.C. United, with Chad Marshall and watching his defense post three consecutive shutouts, Columbus coach Robert Warzycha can't figure out why the Trinidad and Tobago international has bounced around the league, playing for four teams in four seasons.
"It comes to your mind with any deal," Warzycha told MLSsoccer.com. "I remember when he played for D.C. how hard it was to play against him. Every single coach is going to tell you whatever doesn't work on the other team I can fix it. This is the same thing here."
Striker Charlie Davies seems poised to make his first MLS start Saturday in Toronto after scoring a league-leading four goals (three penalty kicks) in three appearances off the bench thus far this season. He partnered with veteran Josh Wolff up top during Tuesday's training session.
And after suffering a broken wrist in preseason that forced United goalkeepers coach Pat Onstad out of retirement, shot-stopper Steve Cronin is back training with D.C. He logged 45 minutes in a scrimmage against the University of Maryland on Sunday and is eligible to come off the injured list in two weeks.
Coming off a convincing 3-1 win over Vancouver, Houston seems set to again be without two key players who missed that match when it hosts New England on Sunday: centerback Jermaine Taylor and striker Brian Ching.
Taylor is suffering from plantar fasciitis on his left foot while Ching is recovering from a left rib separation. Andre Hainault filled in next to Bobby Boswell in central defense against the Whitecaps, while Will Bruin and Cam Weaver partnered up top.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
What is the biggest difference between playing college soccer and being a professional player in MLS? According to Revolution rookie centerback A.J. Soares' blog at Boston.com, it's the travel.
"After these last eight days, I realize that the travel and quick turnaround time in between games are definitely something that is different than college soccer," he wrote. "At Cal, I would have a game on Friday and Sunday, which is a quick turnaround, but there was only one or two plane trips more than two hours each season, and never in between games that were only a few days apart."
Making his first start with the Union against New York on Saturday, midfielder Keon Daniel began on the left flank, then swapped sides with fellow winger Justin Mapp, and then lined up centrally when Philadelphia came out for the second half in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Daniel doesn't mind being positioned all over the midfield — as long as he's on the field, he's not complaining. "If the technical staff wants me on one side or another, playing different positions, I'll do it," Daniel told MLSsoccer.com. "I want to play."
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Having this past weekend off from MLS action meant Kansas City had plenty of time to think about it's collapse in Vancouver the week before, when the Whitecaps erased a late three-goal deficit to earn a draw against Sporting, and try to finger exactly what went wrong.
"We kind of lost ourselves," defender Michael Harrington told MLSsoccer.com. "We are a team that presses a lot. I think we got ourselves stretched out and weren’t compact enough. We made ourselves vulnerable."
When Toronto hosts Los Angeles tonight at BMO Field, the club will see one particularly familiar face on the opposing side: striker Chad Barrett, who was traded from Toronto to the Galaxy during the offseason in a move he admitted was surprising to him.
"I shouldn't have [felt comfortable] but kind of did after Toronto went to great lengths to protect me [in the expansion draft]," Barrett told the Toronto Sun. "It was kind of naive on my part. It was a sad day — I was very comfortable here. But it's a new possibility for me."