This is the last thing the Eastern Conference wanted to see.
New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry has arguably never been more engaged and focused in bringing that first trophy to his MLS club, and it's showing on the field. The latest proof: a No. 1 finish in the Castrol Weekly Top 20 after the final week of the regular season. (See how players collect points in the Castrol methodology here.)
His teammate, Kenny Cooper, may have scored two goals in the 3-0 road shutout of the Philadelphia Union, but it was the Frenchman's overall performance which earned him the best point total of any MLS player, according to Castrol.
So not only has Henry enjoyed his best MLS season to date with 15 goals and 12 assists (No. 4 overall in the final 2012 Castrol season rankings), but he's also entering the postseason as the league's hottest player, which Red Bulls fans will hope to see translate in the Eastern Conference semifinal series against D.C. United.
New York goalkeeper Luis Robles joins his captain on the list (No. 8) and is one of six netminders on the list. But he and Henry will have to keep an eye out for the No. 2 ranked Lionard Pajoy in the upcoming playoff series.
Henry's former Red Bulls protege, Juan Agudelo, figures in at No. 5 and the Goats' striker is one of the biggest names on a Top 20 list featuring a host of players who won't be in the playoffs. Make that 13 of the 20, to be exact, originating from teams who clearly played their hearts out in their season finales despite not qualifying to the big dance.
One star who didn't make the Top 20 cut, LA's Robbie Keane, still did enough to seal that No. 1 spot in the overall season rankings, making him the 2012 Castrol king, just 18 points better than MVP candidate and Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.
Weekly Top 20 Performers - Week 33 Powered by Castrol Index
|1||Thierry Henry||Forward||NY Red Bulls||90||1,352||Philadelphia Union|
|2||Lionard Pajoy||Forward||D.C. United||90||1,345||Chicago Fire|
|3||Steward Ceus||Goalkeeper||Colorado Rapids||90||1,266||Houston Dynamo|
|4||Jackson||Midfielder||FC Dallas||90||1,259||Chivas USA|
|5||Juan Agudelo||Forward||Chivas USA||90||1,256||FC Dallas|
|6||Marco Di Vaio||Forward||Montreal Impact||90||1,250||New England|
|7||Bobby Shuttleworth||Goalkeeper||New England||90||1,245||Montreal Impact|
|8||Luis Robles||Goalkeeper||NY Red Bulls||90||1,159||Philadelphia Union|
|9||Troy Perkins||Goalkeeper||Montreal Impact||90||1,113||New England|
|10||Graham Zusi||Midfielder||Sporting Kansas City||90||1,100||Philadelphia Union|
|11||Sherjill MacDonald||Forward||Chicago Fire||90||1,072||D.C. United|
|12||Josh Saunders||Goalkeeper||LA Galaxy||90||1,060||Seattle Sounders|
|13||Bright Dike||Forward||Portland Timbers||79||1,040||SJ Earthquakes|
|14||Federico Higuain||Midfielder||Columbus Crew||90||1,009||Toronto FC|
|15||Fabian Castillo||Forward||FC Dallas||90||988||Chivas USA|
|16||Jimmy Nielsen||Goalkeeper||Sporting Kansas City||90||966||Philadelphia Union|
|17||Martin Rivero||Midfielder||Colorado Rapids||90||958||Houston Dynamo|
|18||A.J. Soares||Defender||New England||90||929||Montreal Impact|
|19||Andrew Wiedeman||Forward||Toronto FC||90||912||Columbus Crew|
|20||Chris Klute||Defender||Colorado Rapids||90||875||Houston Dynamo|