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Jones puts emphasis on stopping Henry ahead of East finals


Photos by USA TODAY Sports


HARRISON, N.J. — Winning the midfield battle is important. Keeping tabs on the elusive and clinical Bradley Wright-Phillips is, too.

For Jermaine Jones, however, stopping Thierry Henry is key to it all.

The New England Revolution will get their Eastern Conference Championship series with the New York Red Bulls underway on Sunday afternoon, visiting Red Bull Arena for the first of the two legs that will determine which of the in-form clubs reaches the MLS Cup Final.

Much is being made about how vital it will be for each team to try and boss the center of the park, but Jones is putting more of an onus on stopping Henry, who will likely be deployed on the left flank again.

Henry has always been the the heart of the New York attack since signing with the club in 2010, but the Red Bulls captain has essentially turned back the clock to will his team to this deep playoff run, assisting on four of his side’s five postseason goals.

It is a development that is not lost on Jones, who is plenty familiar with Henry and all the danger he possesses.

“We know a lot of the game of Red Bull is Henry,” Jones said Saturday before the Revolution’s training session at Red Bull Arena. “We need a good teamwork to close him and don’t give him that space. I think when you see a lot of goals from Phillips, the cross always comes from Henry, so if you stop Henry you can say you stop Phillips, too.”

Both Jones and Henry said Saturday that they were familiar with one another from their club days in Europe, with Henry recalling a match against Schalke in which he went up against the U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder and Jones talking about how he used to watch the French striker play for Arsenal on TV.

Having seen what Henry is fully capable of both overseas and in the United States, Jones knows that Henry can punish defenses in a number of different ways and even with the slightest bit of room to operate. That is why the 33-year-old Jones believes it will be on the team as a whole, not an any individual, to nullify Henry.

Easier said than done, of course, but gravely important for New England as far as Jones is concerned.

“Maybe we have to step sometimes on his toes, not in a bad way, but to show him that we’re here and not give him too much space,” said Jones. “He’s 37, but when you see the games and you give him the freedom and give him what he wants, he don’t act like 37 and he can hurt you and that is important what we have to stop.”

Many teams have tried in the past to gameplan around negating Henry, and more often than not they’ve come away displeased with the final result. Still, Jones is hoping his in-form team can do it on the way to making it to the MLS Cup Final.

“I have a lot of respect for him,” said Jones “But we have to put that respect for 90 minutes away when we play and I don’t like to lose and we do everything to win.”


  1. I am impressed with Mike Petke’s sense of style. He has nearly mastered the “boarding school bully” look. Very nice.

  2. Jones is absolutely right. Take Henry out of the game and the bulls fail. Best way to do that is to dominate the attack. Keep the bulls on defense and Henry is minimized

  3. Now, this is how world-class players pay real respect to other world-class players. Fantastic! I have never watched a complete MLS game in my life, but because of these 2 players, I will be viewing this game tomorrow.

    Henry still is Henry, even at the age of 37. I hope both of these guys continue, after their playing days, helping U.S. soccer become what we surely can, if only someone had a clue about how to put it together.

      • Jones is an above average Bundesliga D-Mid. That’s very good but world class? Nopre. I would say he is better than Luiz Gustavo but not as good as Schweinsteiger obviously. (Not embarrassing yourself in the WC counts for a lot in regards to Gustavo.)

      • Jermaine came on to the national team picture late but you do know he’s consistently played at a higher level than everyone you mentioned. He’s the closest we’ve got to World Class. LD may have the records, Clint the attitude and Bradley the youthful energy but all these guy are only ahead of Jones on the international stage because they’ve been there longer at club level non of them come close to Jermaine

      • There was a period where Jones was the highest rated Dmid in the Bundesliga (in Kicker ratings). If that doesn’t make you world class, what does?

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