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Final

Henry shrugs off importance of first goal

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – In the 88th minute on Saturday night, Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry put the exclamation point on New York’s 3-0 win over San Jose.

Henry’s headed goal off a weighted cross from Luke Rodgers was the former French international’s first goal of the season and ended a 684-minute goalless streak dating back to last season.

WATCH: Henry gets his first of 2011

But Henry shrugged off the individual significance of the goal on Wednesday, instead insisting the team’s impressive win was the top storyline.

“I think it is more good for the fans. The most important thing is for this team to win the league,” Henry told MLSSoccer.com. “I think sometimes, people focus too much on goals.”

After the match, head coach Hans Backe hailed Henry’s goal and assist against San Jose as “his best performance so far for Red Bull.” But for Henry, the bottom line was that New York played well and earned three points for the first time in weeks.

“If we can win 1-0, that will do it for me,” Henry said. “At the end of the day, we need to win.”

Still, plenty is expected individually from Henry, who scored just two goals in 13 appearances last season. It should help that, at least this week, the Achilles injury issues that have plagued him this spring seem to be a thing of the past

“It’s good,” Henry said. “I’ve been pain free for the first time this week.”

Heading into the club’s match against D.C. United on Thursday (8:30 pm ET, ESPN2), Henry anticipates being healthy and fit to start. Backe promised there won’t be many changes to the lineup that put in a complete effort on Saturday night.

Henry, however, doesn’t anticipate that the trip to RFK Stadium will be as pleasant or as easy as the club’s result this past weekend.

New York beat D.C. United 2-0 on the road last year before Henry joined the club, and the Red Bulls will be looking for their first road win of the year against a home side that is vastly improved from last season.

“It’s up to us to score a goal to make it a different game,” Henry said. “I know it’s going to be a difficult game.”

Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer