Was the Arsenal Game Necessary For RBNY?

While there was a sold out crowd against Thierry Henry’s favorite club, RBNY might have played an unnecessary game
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Monday, July 28, 2014

John Hefti Photography - Luis Robles, RBNY, NYRB

It was a bit of a muggy day at Red Bull Arena as the New York Red Bulls took a break from league play to face one of the top sides in the English Premier League as the defending FA Cup Champions Arsenal came over to the United States for the first time in 25 years.

Not only was this a friendly against a powerhouse, but of course this was the club that put Thierry Henry’s name in lights years ago. So many years in Highbury did he score some amazing goals and then a quick transition to the Emirates Stadium where he made some nice highlights, including a loan deal that saw Henry score a fantastic goal during the FA Cup against Leeds United.

But at the end of the day Henry and the Red Bulls played against a side that was just getting underway in their preseason. And while the passing was fantastic, the finishing wasn’t up to par. Still, those who were lucky enough to be inside Red Bull Arena, either in the press box or in the seats, saw a fantastic match that had many on either side of the isles on the edge of their seats.

A fantastic goal from the league leader in Bradley Wright-Phillips, who continues to perform at a high level, deflected an Ibrahim Sekagya header past the keeper to earn the loan tally of the game. But while the entire stadium was packed and full of Arsenal shirts from years past, the Red Bulls players felt that this match was an interruption of the task that will come up in a few days time.

During the press conference a few days ago, Henry said that while he is happy that this friendly was going to be played, his mind was on Real Salt Lake and frankly I don’t blame him. While I do understand that these mid-summer friendly games are important up to a certain degree, these players have a league season to think about and they want no mental interruption towards it.

It felt like during the press conference that Henry was both happy and annoyed at the same time. Three points are not on the line, yet as I have said many times his heart belongs to Arsenal as he loves the club so much. But he felt personally that this is an annoyance and the wrong time to have a friendly in the middle of the season.

But seeing one of the top sides of the English Premier League playing at Red Bull Arena was a lot of fun and exciting at the same time as we will always watch them on television and never live at their stadiums. One day I will fly over during the MLS Offseason to see a live match in England, but till now there is a 2014 season still going on and hope to see the Red Bulls climb the standings.

NEXT UP: July 30 — Red Bull New York vs. Real Salt Lake, Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah. 9 p.m. EST, ESPN 2.

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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