UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Three days after his team captain and star forward Thierry Henry was ejected in the 28th minute of their recent game at Kansas City, Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe still hasn’t seen a replay of the incident.
Last Saturday, Henry earned a red card for charging into Sporting Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza, who was still on the ground after tackling Teemo Tainio. Referee Kevin Stott determined Henry’s charge was intentional and slapped him with a straight red.
As a result, Henry will miss Thursday night’s crucial regular-season closer against the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena that could determine whether New York make the playoffs (8 pm ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).
Backe is still unsure if further discipline will be taken against Henry by the league.
“To be fair, I haven’t seen the replay,” Backe said at training on Tuesday. “It was a red card, but I haven’t heard what kind of suspension he gets for that. I didn’t see it on the pitch; it came very, very quick. The referee was very quick to get the red card out.”
He refused to comment further on the specifics of the play.
“I don’t bother about that stuff,” he added. “It’s a red card, he will be out, will be suspended. There’s nothing you can influence on that.”
Without Henry, central midfielder Rafa Márquez will wear the captain’s armband, as Backe reiterated the club has moved past the Mexican international’s recent suspension. The coach also shrugged off any concern about Henry and his often fiery temperament.
“He’s normally a quiet, quite calm player,” Backe said. “Things happen during a game, tackles, there is a reaction.”
There is no denying, however, that Backe will miss Henry’s production in Thursday’s game. The Red Bulls can guarantee they make the playoffs with a win, but they’ll have to do so without a player who has found the net 14 times this season.
“He’s the top scorer [for the Red Bulls] and a guy with tons of experience in games like this,” Backe said. “We’ll see now, we have some options, some guys have to step up and perform.”