Thursday, April 28, 2011

Henry's Homecoming: Red Bulls to Play in Emirates Cup

Henry Should Receive a Hero's Reception at the Emirates
The Red Bulls announced today that they have been selected as one of fours teams participating in this summer's Emirates Cup, held at Emirates Stadium in London, July 30-31. RBNY will be the first MLS club ever selected to participate in the prestigious annual tournament, and the event should also be a feel-good homecoming for Thierry Henry, who enjoyed so many great seasons at Arsenal, though mostly up the road a bit at now demolished Highbury. The other three participants in this year's event are (of course) hosts Arsenal, Paris St. Germain and Boca Juniors, though RBNY will not play the Argentinian club.

For those fans who can afford it, this would be a fantastic summer vacation. Our man viper visited the Emirates earlier this season to see his beloved Arsenal in person, and as you can tell, had a wonderful time. Personally, I'll have to give this one a pass, unless my financial situation improves dramatically (not likely). Our UK correspondent Glenn, however, may be making the trip down to London for this one. For those who enjoy fretting about the long-term effect of meaningless summer friendlies, the Emirates Cup falls during a break in the Red Bulls schedule, so unless we end up with several injured players as a result of participation, I have no problem at all with it. It's great to see the Red Bulls carrying the flag for MLS in Europe.

Speaking of carrying the flag in Europe, I had the pleasure to speak with BBC Radio Nottingham's Andy Whittaker about the Red Bulls' Luke Rodgers on their morning drive time broadcast yesterday.  Click here and fast forward to the 2:55 mark to listen to my segment.

Kudos one last time to Real Salt Lake for making it to the CONCACAF Champions League final and representing MLS well. Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that RSL fell short last night in the second leg, but it was still a tremendous effort overall and a good sign of things to come for the league as a whole. The quality gap between MLS and the Mexican League, which was once massive, has closed substantially, but there is still a lot of work to do.

Now back to the stuff that matters most. RBNY hosts Sporting Kansas City this weekend at Red Bull Arena. With glorious weather expected, there should be no excuses for season ticket holders and casual fans not getting their butts out to the Cathedral of Football. In fact, I am going to make a weekend of it with my kids, stay overnight and do Meet the Team Day on Sunday as well (don't forget to RSVP). If cost is an issue, there is still an excellent buy one, get one free offer available for upper level seats. Hell, if you are willing to put just a little more effort into it our good friend Stan Chelney, who runs the excellent Soccer Law blog, is willing to give you his midfield section seats - for free. Speaking of Stan, we are going to be helping him a promote a new project he is involved with - one that US soccer fans will no doubt want to be part of - so look for that next week.

The Red Bulls ride into this game as MLS' hottest team, having scored seven goals over their last two matches on the way to consecutive victories over San Jose and DC United. With Henry, Rodgers and Agudelo all on form, this is an excellent opportunity for RBNY to extend its lead atop the Eastern Conference.

Finally, if you are on Twitter, do Juan Agudelo a favor and help him out in his follower battle with fellow USMNT young gun Teal Bunbury. You can follow Juan here.

That's it for now. Look for viper's big match preview soon, and expect photos of You Suck Corrales' new RBNY tattoo in our match coverage following the KC game.
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