2012Apr 16 3:52 pm

    Player Spotlight: Thierry Henry

    By Adam COMMENT
  • Thierry Henry

    Henry practice

    Major League Soccer star Thierry Henry is setting the soccer world ablaze. The Frenchman is the rare combination of goal-scoring powerhouse as a striker and unselfish setup man as a winger, attested by his 257 career goals, an additional 51 in international play, and 135 assists.

    Henry began his soccer career in 1994 at AS Monaco in the French football league, but became an international sensation when he joined Arsenal FC in the English Premier League in 1999. He played there through the 2006-07 season, and then once again in 2011, while on loan from New York. He is Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer in all competitions with 227 goals, which includes 176 in regular-season play.

    Henry joined the New York Red Bulls in 2010 and, in his auspicious debut against Houston Dynamo, he assisted on both of Juan Pablo Angel’s goals in the 2-2 draw. In 43 MLS games with the Red Bulls, he’s tallied 23 goals and 12 assists, including an amazing seven goals and five assists in just six games to start the 2012 season.

    If you’ve seen the journeyman superstar play this season, then you’re well aware of the amazing display of skills he showed on March 31 when he knocked in three goals, including a brilliant header to start the scoring, and an assist. His performance that night is easily the best in all of Major League Soccer in 2012, and one of the greatest single-game efforts in MLS history.

    In addition to being a prolific scorer, the 34-year-old veteran handles a soccer ball with his feet like Michael Jordan’s hands handled a basketball. He creates action on the field, which means whenever he’s got the ball he usually entices at least two defenders, leaving at least one man open on the field. This accounts for his large number of assists, which makes him one of the greatest offensive players of all time.

    In the 2012 MLS season, he’s off to his fastest start ever. With seven goals so far, he’s halfway to last year’s total of 14 and has already surpassed his 2011 assists numbers. It doesn’t hurt that he’s playing with legit goal-scorer, Kenny Cooper, who’s already tallied seven goals on just 12 shots (on goal). Both stars scored twice in their match against the Columbus Crew, including three in the first half which set the tone for the remainder of their 4-1 win.

    It’s production like this that has the New York Red Bulls in second place in the Eastern Conference behind red-hot Sporting KC. The Red Bulls won three in a row in impressive fashion, scoring 13 goals and only allowing four against.

    There’s no guarantee the international superstar will continue his torrid scoring pace, but one certainty is that fans are lining up to watch #14 to see what he’s going to do next.

    Next match: April 22 @ D.C United (ESPN 2)

    About the Author

    Adam Acosta-- Playing more sports than Bo Jackson, Adam knows what it takes to compete, professionally, having played soccer for both Real Salt Lake and the Charleston Battery.