MLS- New York Red Bulls

Petke mum on Henry benching, calling it a 'coach's decision'

ThierryHenryRedBulls2-DCUnited2013 (USATodaySports)


HARRISON, N.J.– Of Thierry Henry’s 86 games played since signing with the New York Red Bulls in the summer of 2011, he’s only failed to start four games, with two of them coming this season due to a knee injury suffered in the home opener.

That’s why it was a surprise when Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke’s lineup on Saturday evening was was without Henry’s name in the starting eleven. Following the Red Bulls’ 2-1 victory over D.C. United at Red Bull Arena, where Henry played the final 32 minutes of the match, Petke was coy to explain his reasons for leaving the his star forward on the bench.

“I’m a coach, and I make decisions every day,” Petke told reporters after the match. “I made my decision, and that’s between me and the team.”

Earlier this week, reports emerged from Red Bulls training that Petke and Henry had been involved in an altercation in practice, but Petke commented that he thought people were making a bigger deal out of it than it really was.

“(Henry) is an emotionally fiery person, which I love about him, and I’m an emotionally fiery person,” Petke said. “This happens all over the world, everywhere, it’s just news here because it’s the Red Bulls, and it’s Thierry Henry. It’s really much ado about nothing. We immediately cleared the air and he’s on board 100 percent.”

Petke later added: “We immediately were in my office for two hours. (We had a) civil conversation, I heard him out, he heard me out, and we moved on immediately. It didn’t affect the team whatsoever, it didn’t affect Thierry, it didn’t affect me.”

Henry declined to comment after the match.


What do you think of these comments? Do you see Henry returning to the starting lineup in the Red Bull’s next match? Did you agree with Petke’s decision to leave Henry on the bench?

Share your thoughts below.

  • el paso tx

    Mls parity is saving petkes job and many other coaches. Its ridiculous that all teams can basically win and make the playoffs ans win mls cup. Therefore small markets have figured out to win and teams with with big dps and money are hold back to win and dominate. Another thing, if this mls parity helps the league be more interesting, then have single table champion. Having each team within 3 points away, this late in the season is weird and a bad sign of the league. You can have 4 to 6 teams but when u have 18 teams, then dont have playoffs and just have single table like NASL.


    • slyboy

      dude, just stop. All you do is go on and on and on about the need to remove parity. NY has always had problems… always, parity or no parity. BTW. you got the number of teams in the league wrong, and while 10 go to playoffs, the last 4 teams have to play a play in round, and enter with a serious disadvantage.


      • TomG

        He’s also a first year manager who wasn’t given the reins until about a week before the season started. All things considered, I think he’s done okay and has a lot of potential.


      • Georkt

        When a coach takes on the big name player making tons more $ and stands his ground he gains the teams respect. Petke has made it clear he is the coach.


    • Aero

      I’m always amazed that people prefer a league where 3 or 4 teams win all championships for decades on end with the other 15 teams serving as cannon fodder with no chance of winning…

      And when will this abomination of putting most recent comments at the top of the thread end?


  • PD

    There are pluses and minuses to parity and to the current playoff formula, but this year they are really working together. The fact that things are so tight points wise means that a swing of form can see a top 5 team out of the playoff picture. That’s high stakes.

    That said, too many teams make the playoffs it should be top 2 or top 3 from each division.


  • RB Analyst

    Glad to see Petke stand up to his prima donna DP. Henry needs pressure to make more of an effort. He plays better when he’s got a chip on his shoulder.


  • TomG

    Man, this season every BPL match ends 0-0 or 1-0 with very few real chances. I love watching matches at a high level, but I also love attacking soccer. This is lame. This league has become insanely conservative.


  • chris_thebassplayer

    Petke benching Henry was long overdue. When Petke was abruptly hired right before the season started I chimed in that Henry should have been the first guy to go. It would be almost impossible for a coach with Petke’s mindset to put up with Henry’s off and on mopey BS. Henry has always run the roost in NY as long as he’s been there. Not anymore, he’ll play hard and be engaged in the team effort or he won’t see the field…that’s the way good teams are built. Nice to see Petke let Henry know who’s the boss.


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