2014 Will Be a Different Year for Henry

What Mike Petke should do with his top designated player
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Friday, December 13, 2013

John Hefti Photography - RBNY, NYRB

After celebrating their first trophy at the end of October in the Supporters’ Shield, Red Bull New York will have an extra piece of silverware to chase when they will participate in the group stage of the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.

But that means RBNY’s schedule will get busier. Not only will they tack on 4 games in the CCL, but they’ll also be looking repeat as Supporters’ Shield winners and an MLS Cup trophy. And, on top of that, they’ll have the US Open Cup to go through, too.

It’s going to get busy.

Right now, New York is preparing for the Re-Entry Draft, having sent Fabian Espindola, Andre Akpan, Brandon Barklage, Kevin Hartman and Heath Pearce into the pool of eligible players. They may try and snag a decent player, too, which would be beneficial for them.

But there’s one player facing question marks: Thierry Henry.

The questions aren’t whether or not he will remain on the club, but rather if and when RBNY manager Mike Petke can rest Henry during the MLS regular season for him in order for him to perform during US Open Cup games and CONCACAF Champions League games.

We know that the league has implemented the 2-week break during the World Cup group stage and that will be a positive as Henry will be turning 37 next August and won’t be making any World Cup squads, either. But of course the bigger matches coming up will be crucial and RBNY’s need of having him ready to go for the playoffs as well can be huge.

Petke needs to find matches on the calendar to give Henry at least a good 70 to 75 minutes off and then use him as a substitute, as it looks like Bradley Wright-Phillips can be used as a starter. And if the club can re-acquire Fabian Espindola at a lower rate – or maybe bring Kenny Cooper back as he looked like a good fit in the 2012 season and sadly had to be sent away due to the salary cap – they might be in good shape.

it would be wise to have Henry take a break from the starting lineup in a regular season match and have him start when they get close to a US Open Cup match or a CONCACAF Champions League contest.

Because no matter how much people may say about the type of tournament that should or shouldn’t matter, it really comes down to this:

All trophies that are on the line matter. And even though the Red Bulls did win their first championship in the regular season, there’s still another step to climb as they earned a spot in the next edition of the CCL.

You can’t settle on just one, you need to repeat and win the others that you haven’t won.

Daniel FEUERSTEIN

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.
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