MLS- Toronto FC

Eastern Conference notes: Henry hurt again, Davies poised for first start & more


 Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com


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.


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."


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."

  • Jose

    NYRB should have kept Juan Pablo Angel given all the injuries with Henry. It is starting to sound like a bust.


  • CoachK

    That’s funny you guys beating up on Becks. My concern as a RB fan is what if HENRY DOES return? Heaven help us?? He has already done an excellent conn job on Backe and Co and so far has been injured ( or claims injury at least 70% of the time) He should now be past the hand ball psche, the WCup in So Africa, His cat passing away, his lost car keys, and whatever other pathetic excuse anyone can think of? Bottom line he has been a terrible disappointment. He is too old now Yeah he HAD talent but lets face it at $5MM we deserve alot better. He aint no Ryan Giggs who still looks amazing at 37. He is better off calling it quits now. Call me Negative or just call it the TRUTH Henry is past his prime waaaaay past.

    Time for RB to find another way?


  • Bill

    I was at the Union game, and Henry was brutal. In a way, it is good to here it was an injury. otherwise, it looked like he just did not care. He kept pulling up and barely taking runs. Second half he spent most of his time massaging his own back as if that was hurt.


  • toropug

    CoachK I agree Henry is way past his prime and generally seems to not care or be motivated. However, he has said in interviews he is not the main scorer of this team and is more of a set up man (which he is still doing a crappy job of). I think he has sort of been honest by not making promises of grandeur or to light the league up. I think the NY FO has been the one selling bill of stinky goods. Backe stated this has been a 5 year ongoing injury and this is the first we have heard of it. They have been promoting him to sell tickets, while all along knowing he is a broken shell of his former self. I have never cared for Henry, but I think he has been fairly honest. We all know he came here to 1. live in NY, 2. get a payday, and 3. play some soccer on the side (in that order). That being said, I hope NY and LA keep bringing in old, used up DPs.


  • crosebud

    As a RBNY Fan I am a bit nervous about Henry’s health/form. But as a USMT I say we can’t pay enough to have a world class mature professional working every day with Agudelo. The experience in training is invaluable (I feel the same way about Ream partnering with Marquez)

    So I don’t think he can ever be a total bust


  • Zach

    Blows my mind how someone can dislike Henry. One of the truly great players and people in soccer. Always supports charities, speaks out against racism, class act. He’s also taking Agudelo under his wing and tutoring him which bodes well for USMNT


  • wally

    The henry injury explains a lot, but how depressing that this has apparently been an issue for 5 years. I was pretty thilled when he made the decision to jump from barca to NYRB, but one can only assume he thought this was a decent place to nurse an achiles injury and still get paid/be mildly competitive.


  • Colin

    Maybe Henry should concern himself with being a forward and scoring goals and less time tracking back and getting the ball from Ream and Marquez. Should save his legs and his precious achilles.


  • Eddie

    Same here. I am really unhappy to hear this has been a problem for five years, as that does not bode well for the injury getting better anytime soon. I have to wonder how rigorous the physical was that he got from RB considering he has appeared to be injured since he got here.


  • This Guy

    I can think of a lot of people that support charities and speak out against racism that are not well liked.
    The facts are he is as unprofessional as they come. Ruiz level.


  • Zach

    How is he unprofessional? Because he’s not impervious to injury? Give me reasons why he’s not a true professional


  • Jon L.

    Looking forward to seeing Davies start. It’s been a long road for him, but it’s definitely nice to see him on the pitch again.


  • dan

    I feel bad for Henry, to bust on him is not right, it’s not like he can control his injury.

    That being said, perhaps it’s time to rest him for a good amount and think long term.


  • The Dude

    Everybody needs to back the F off of Henry. His Achilles gets inflamed periodically, and it’s been a problem for seven years. Listening to one of the Red Bull’s podcasts last night, their performance analyst said that Henry does NOT need surgery, and that it’s NOT a good idea take time off from a tendon issue. Henry has been responding well to treatment.

    Don’t forget, he scored all those goals at Arsenal and Barca with the same issue. He’s learned to deal with it.

    He’s not a bust, and he’ll prove all the haters wrong!


  • CA

    More and more I grow convinced that aging European superstars is NOT the way to go with DP acquisitions.


  • Juan

    If backe knew Henry has had a significant injury for several years…1) wow what a risky use of a precious DP spot, 2) doesn’t the Mac kandji trade for Ballouchy in an already busy midfield last season look like a poor decision, and 3) backe must see something in 32 yr old journeyman luke Rodgers that most others don’t, because he will have to play a key role for the team this year


  • EN

    Hey, Ives, any insider info from NY about Houston (allegedly) signing Spanish ST/AM Koke from Aris in Greece? The club announced the termination of his contract to sign with MLS earlier today but the Dynamo have said nothing.


  • northzax

    actually, if he’s been having the problem for five years, then he’s scored a total of 47 goals in that time-span for clubs (19 of them in one season) which is an average of only 9.4 goals a season. take the 19 goal season out, and you’re looking at 7 goals/season in regular competition. he scored two in the second half of last season, so extrapolate that to 4 for the season, and the trend line is pretty clear.

    in his last 33 matches for his clubs, he has 6 goals. on par for his season average. that’s what he is, a six goal scorer. not bad, by any means, but not 5 million bucks worth.


  • northzax

    Charlie Davies goals from run of play in 2011: 1
    New York Red Bulls goals in 2011: 2

    50% ain’t bad. PKs do, in fact, count, you know right?


  • CoachK

    Zach why Henry is not a professional?

    Hmm lets see

    1) He is paid $5MM to do what exactly.. tutor Juan Aguedello?

    2) Smile for Photos

    3) Make excuses about now not being a goal scorer but more of a player creating spaces and feeds for “others” to score.. Ahh excuse me were you at the Phili game he was as Bill says above “brutal” so much so his own players were not passing to him rather recycling the ball back thru the D all over again and slip it to the other side to Richards or Limpere Btm line our “special” player was a NON factor.

    And oh his speaches about Racism..bully for him at $5MM there a lot of other players speaking out and contributing a whole lot more than Mr Washed up?


  • northzax

    I predict Henry will score, if given a PK, he can’t miss two in a row, right?


  • Paco

    You are a headcase. Henry has scored 113 goals in all competitions since the 2005/2006 season.


  • Kevin

    Ha, if you’re trying to imply Henry was able to make a something other than a fraction-of-a-second, instinct reaction when that ball hit his hand against Ireland you’re out of your mind. You would have done it too, and you know it. Not to mention it’s not Henry’s job to ref the game. The man has been a model professional.


  • Zach

    This argument is so old and worn out. So he handball’d, big effing deal. Suarez did the same thing, but no one bemoans him for that anymore. Charlie Davies just blatantly dove to win a penalty and earn his team a point. I don’t see everyone hating on Charlie and calling him unprofessional.

    So if it’s Ghana or LA Galaxy being hurt, it’s okay right? But when it’s the lovable Irish…heaven forbid. Let’s witch hunt Henry and excommunicate him from soccer.


  • Tyler

    Whether you’re a NYRB fan or just an MLS fan why are you complaining? He’s injured, so give him time to heal. After that, you’re stuck with him, so no sense in berating a player who is not going anywhere. And no amount of moaning and groaning is going to change that. What he brings to the pitch is what he brings to the pitch (even if it’s minimal in terms of overall contribution to the team).


  • GW

    PK’s do count but DC United and the USMNT have other guys who can make them.

    Davies needs to score more from the run of play to convince others he’s really on his way back.


  • Supsam

    smiling in photos is unprofessional?????? and thats your 2nd best reason??? hahahaha

    wait a minute….that explains why all those NFL and NBA players look so angry in their player ‘mug shots’ and all this time they were being professionals….


  • JoeW

    Signing Henry is good for MLS, probably bad for RBNY. MLS ain’t a top-3 league. But the level of play has improved enough combined with the physical nature of play that this is now a really tough league for aging players who aren’t used to lots of running and contact. Don’t tell me Henry played in the Premiership…that was decades ago (using career years). He’s a good guy and a great representative for the league with the media. But for 5 million smackers (actually, for just $1 million) you could probably get a striker who’d produce much better results (ie: scoring goals). But maybe that will change…too early to write the man off. But results over parts of 2 seasons haven’t been encouraging. And results including his last year at Barcelona (so you expand the sample size) are even less so.


  • canchon

    5 million is a lot to pay for a tutor/offensive coach. While it’s a great side effect, if Henry does not start scoring goals or setting them up, his time here in NY will be a bust. He was brought in to be the star on the team, not an “elder statesman.” This is not Petke we’re talking about.


  • CR

    I feel like you guys are forgetting that he has been a sub in all of these matches. According to DC’s website, he’s played a total of 120 minutes. One goal in the run of play for every 120 minutes is still a damn good strike rate. Add in the fact that he earned the last PK (disregarding that it was a dive), and he’s on fire.

    Plus, as Henry showed us, PK’s aren’t always that easy to nail. Just a little FYI.


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