The New York Red Bulls may have let a two-goal lead slip away in their season-opening 3-3 draw against the Portland Timbers, but that is not what Thierry Henry is unhappy about.
Instead, the club’s captain is irked by two days spent at the airport, and preparation time lost as a result.
“What is frustrating is the way we came here,” Henry told reporters. “We didn’t prepare anything because we were at the airport on Friday [and] on Saturday, too, trying to come here. We did eventually but we didn’t prepare the game how we should’ve prepared the game and you could see the last 30 minutes, everyone ran out of steam.”
Originally scheduled to head to the Rose City on a commercial flight on Friday, the Red Bulls had to wait until Saturday to depart the New York area as mechanical issues caused a lengthy delay. They waited on the tarmac for more than three hours before it was decided that they would get off the plane and travel the next day via a chartered flight, after which they trained only briefly.
While the decision to take the near-six-hour ride to Portland on Saturday was made collectively between head coach Mike Petke and the squad, Henry is still not pleased that the club found itself in such a situation and he partially blamed that for New York blowing a 3-1 lead against the new-look Timbers at JELD-WEN Field on Sunday.
He may have been disappointed with New York needing to improvise on their travel plans, but he was content with the club picking up a point on the road. The Timbers were the better side for much of the entertaining encounter and they netted twice in the second half to level the proceedings.
“Let’s be honest, we scored on two mistakes from their part and they had the whole ball the whole second half and they were pushing and playing really well,” said Henry before again talking about the club’s pregame preparations.
“We didn’t prepare it the way, not our fault obviously, the way you should prepare a game but that’s the way the league is and you have to come here and perform," he said. "We did match Portland for an hour but then in the last 30 minutes, they took over and we ran out of steam and they took control of the game and scored two.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com.