BY MIKE NASTRI
It was Thierry Henry's big night and New York's newest star produced under the bright lights of Red Bull Arena.
Henry dazzled the 20,312 fans in the first half with quick one touch passes and superb vision. The Frenchman certainly didn't look out of form with crisp passes and a beautiful first touch. And then Henry did what he has done countless times before, he scored.
"I think hopefully the goals are going to come," said Henry. "Don't forget that Joel made a great play on the goal after what I had to do in the box. It's not about goals, it's about helping the team and I'm trying to work to be as fit as soon as I can."
Today, helping the team did mean a goal. The newest Red Bull netted the first goal of the match in the 26th minute deflecting the ball with toe of his boot past Spurs keeper Carlo Cudicini. Lindpere created the only goal of the first half with a sharp cut past Alan Hutton and then played a hard ball across the goal mouth.
"He [Henry] plays football with a smile on his face and it's enjoyable," said Carl Robinson. "Obviously the lads respond from that. He gets himself into fantastic positions and he's an all around top quality footballer.
"It'll [playing with Henry] raise the level of the other lads because they'll aspire to be what he is. And if players play with the amount of enjoyment he plays with then they'll have a lot of fun."
"When you're playing with a guy like Thierry, you want to step up your game," said Carlos Mendes. "I think it's going to help everybody. We're looking to move forward and hopefully do well this year in the league."
This match wasn't all fun for the Red Bulls. After the New York dominated the first half, it became the Tottenham Spurs show in the second half. Goals from Robbie Keane and Gareth Bale secured the win for the English side. Neither goal was magnificent and came off mistakes from the NYRB defense.
"They're top four in the EPL," said Tim Ream. "To be up one-nothing on them and really just a couple mistakes that cost us. We didn't give up much besides those two goals."
"It was a good effort. It was a good ninety minutes. Even down a goal we were going at them and really trying put the screws to them and trying to score another goal."
The Red Bulls pressed for an equalizer late in the second half, but New York just couldn't finish. Mac Kandji, Dane Richards, and Tony Tchani all had good looks on goal but weren't able to earn the point.
"I think the Red Bulls were a very good team," said Spurs boss Harry Redknapp. "We were fortunate to win the game. They had some good opportunities, they just couldn't convert."
Despite the result, NYRB put forth a strong effort against a Tottenham side fielding a handful of top class players. The difference in the game was finishing and New York couldn't. They created an abundance of chances, but the ball just wouldn't bounce their way. When the strike duo of Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel get on the field together, those chances will be finished.
"We can build on this for the MLS because if we can play like this in the league, we can have a very good future definitely," said head coach Hans Backe. "So it's a good game for our players to get experience against Premiership players. I can't say I'm not happy about our performance."
The second and final match for each of these teams in the Barclays NY Football Challenge comes Sunday as Spurs battle Sporting Lisbon and NYRB takes on Manchester City.