New York Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry notched two assists in his MLS debut on a muggy night in Houston last year, but this time he's staying home.
A team spokesman confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that Henry did not travel with the club on Friday due to a right knee injury similiar to the one that limited him during the 2010 postseason. The Red Bulls take on the Dynamo on Saturday at Robertson Stadium (8:30 pm ET, MatchDay Live).
Henry suffered the injury last Sunday night during the team's 3-2 loss to Chivas USA. He left training early on Thursday after participating with the full team for just 30 minutes. It was his first training session of the week after an off-day on Monday and regeneration on Tuesday and Wednesday.
During the session, it was clear Henry was lacking his normal quickness and turn of speed on the practice field. He slowly hobbled away from training at the halfway point of the team’s session, heading toward the team’s locker room area at Red Bull Arena.
“Whenever I want to control the ball or pass I couldn’t do it properly, so I didn’t want to aggravate it more,” Henry said.
A healthy Henry will be crucial over the next month, as coach Hans Backe let slip on Thursday afternoon that New York may lose Juan Agudelo to the United States national team for the upcoming Gold Cup. Dwayne De Rosario and Dane Richards, two other valuable Red Bulls attackers, are also expected to be gone for the tournament.
Backe said that he did not want to “take any risks” with Henry, and that the four-hour flight, the thin roster in June and the severity of the injury itself all informed the team’s decision to keep their Designated Player home.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer