TUKWILA, Wash. — Thierry Henry’s controversial red card against Portland on Sunday will keep him playing against Seattle on Thursday (10 pm ET, ESPN2), but it's no matter to Kasey Keller.
The veteran goalkeeper insists that the Sounders, after all, are always the main draw in Seattle, no matter who comes to town.
“The cool part about it is that our fans are coming to watch the Sounders,” Keller said. “They’re not coming to watch Thierry Henry. It’s an added bonus if he’s there, but it’s not going to make a difference.”
As the Sounders resumed training two days before the nationally televised clash, the players reacted to the incident that led to Henry’s red. James Riley said he generally likes to see players work out any differences on the field without the referee’s interference, a sentiment echoed by Brad Evans.
“For me, it’s not worth sending somebody off and changing the whole dynamic of the game,” Evans said.
Evans indicated that one of the best ways to negate the physical style of the Timbers is to play hard yourself. The Seattle midfielder noted that Henry seemed to want the ball “every single time” and was trying to “carry his team.”
However, the rough and exciting match, which ended in a 3-3 draw, saw Henry earn a straight red card after a stoppage time scuffle with Portland’s Adam Moffat.
“A team like Portland, they’re a bunch of bruisers,” Evans said. “The best way to get into their heads is to play like he does. Maybe it was a tactical thing, maybe he wanted to get a little bit chippy, and it didn’t work out for him.”
Seattle fans looking to watch the game Thursday, meanwhile, won’t be turned away. The club is opening up additional seating in the upper deck for the Red Bulls match, and walk-up tickets will be available, according to Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer, who is expecting 45,000-50,000 fans.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS