The Montreal Impact couldn’t handle the stellar play of New York Red Bulls’ star forward Thierry Henry at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night. The 1998 World Cup Champion scored two goals and added an assist in a great individual performance.
The Impact were heading into the match on a two game winning streak, having beaten the Chicago Fire last week and Salvadorian club C.D. FAS in CONCACAF Champions League action.
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The game started out with New York dominating the possession and having the majority of the chances. However, Evan Bush was sharp and Matteo Ferrari stoned Tim Cahill with a goal line clearance.
Despite all the possession, the Impact would strike first. Dilly Duka found some space on the left and dribbled the ball slowly down the flank. The defenders backed off, allowing Duka to walk right into the box and fire one passed goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Some really shoddy defending leads to the midfielder’s first goal as a member of the Impact and Montreal went into the break with a 1-0 lead.
It was in the second half though, that Henry took over.
The Frenchman was all over the place – winning headers, creating chances and finishing them too.
In the 53rd minute, Eric Alexander whipped a ball into the box and Henry made an incredible diving header, deflecting the ball perfectly off the far post and in. There was little Bush could do about it.
His second came 15 minutes later. The former Arsenal man made it look so easy as he calmly placed the ball into the bottom corner from the top of the box. Now 37-years-old, Henry is proving he can still play at a high level.
A few moments later, Henry set up his teammate, MLS goal scoring leader Bradley Wright-Phillips, with a gorgeous through ball. His two goals were nice, but his assist on Wright-Phillips’ tally was probably the play of the game.
Andrés Romero gave the Impact some hope when he brought the game back to within a goal in the 79th. The Argentine, who has been playing really well as of late, curled a shot in from the top of the 18.
But, the comeback wasn’t to be and Wright-Phillips restored the two goal advantage in stoppage time. With his two goals, the Englishman set the new franchise record for goals in a season with 20…and there’s still more than a month left in the season!
4-2 New York, Final.
Impact head coach Frank Klopas was quick to applaud his team’s effort in a press release after the game.
"“I think Henry made a big difference in the second half. I thought we were sharp at moments, especially in the first half. We found some chances and we pushed to try and tie it. They took advantage of that to score the fourth goal.” – Frank Klopas"
Meanwhile, Bush shouldered the blame for the second Henry goal.
“That second one killed us,” said Bush, who made three saves in the game. “I was in between trying to grab it and push it away and didn’t make up my mind.”
Unfortunately for Montreal, they will be seeing a lot of Henry, Wright-Phillips and the rest of the Red Bulls. The two sides will play one another twice more in the Champions League (September 17th and October 22nd).
The next game for the Impact will be Saturday, August 30th, at home against the Columbus Crew.