It took very little time for the New York Red Bulls' rivalry with New York City FC to heat up after NYCFC made their MLS debut in 2015. But it might've been even bigger had Thierry Henry hung around Red Bull Arena for one more season, says former Red Bulls and current Nashville SC midfielder Dax McCarty.
"A little part of me does wish that they could’ve been a part of it," McCarty told ESPN's Taylor Twellman in a recent roundtable. "I look at El Trafico … and I see how important it was for Zlatan and for Carlos Vela and for these big names to be a part of it and to create a little bit more of a buzz for it. I think that it would’ve been incredibly special, especially seeing a guy like Thierry get up for a moment like that, knowing the big games he’s been in. Barca-Real Madrid, Tottenham-Arsenal. Obviously a little bit higher level than MLS, But I still think it means so much to those big players and they step up in those moments."
Henry, now the Montreal Impact manager, ended his playing career for RBNY in 2014, and was an integral part of changing the culture of the club, helping the Red Bulls to their first major trophy in 2013, the Supporters' Shield.
The arrival of their Yankee Stadium rivals also changed the attitude of the club, admitted McCarty, who despite playing at five MLS teams is likely most known around the league for his seven seasons at RBA.
"I think immediately there was annoyance," McCarty said of the crosstown foes. "I would say the banter and just the jabs that were going back and forth in the media, and between the fanbases added another level and another layer to all of it."