Thursday, April 14, 2011

Henry Good to Go?... and Other RBNY Notes

After a couple of anxious days when it seemed that Thierry Henry might be shelved for quite some time, the Frenchman was back in training with RBNY today ahead of their Saturday grudge match with the San Jose Earthquakes at what could be a soggy Red Bull Arena. Henry, whose Achilles tendon has been causing trouble since his Arsenal days, felt well enough to take part in full training today in Montclair, with Hans Backe going as far as to say that the striker looked "lively" and - get ready for it - "explosive."

That certainly sounds encouraging, but caution is in order, since the club has now gone on the record about Henry's chronic heel problem injury and the fact that it will need to be managed as the season goes along. Even if he plays on Saturday, there's no guarantee that it won't flare up again. Is it too much to hope that Henry finally gets on the scoresheet on Saturday? Yeah probably, but even a better performance than the one he put in against Philadelphia would be welcome. If RBNY wants to have any hope of reaching Hans Backe's stated goal of a Supporter's Shield, they need to start picking up points, and Thierry Henry at his best is key to getting that done.

In other Red Bulls news, we apparently have not seen the last of the man with the league's worst neck tattoo, Brian Nielsen. Despite missing most of last season through injuries and failing to endear himself to fans, the Red Bulls have agreed to extend their loan deal for another year with the Danish midfielder.  To be fair, Nielsen did show some speed and skill on the ball in the few minutes he did play last season, so bringing him back for another season is a gamble that may be worth taking. Nielsen should be ready to (finally) resume full training soon, as should Chris Albright.

Finally, for those who like to obsess about MLS attendance (and let's be honest, who doesn't?), our friend and loyal reader Chris Lalli has done yeoman's work in putting together this outstanding spreadsheet, which will track attendance for this season, league-wide, and provide fixture-by-fixture comparisons. We'll be taking the occasional peek into how the figures look for RBNY and everyone else as the 2011 season unfolds, but if you're into numbers please bookmark away and visit as often as you'd like. The sheet will be updated regularly.
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