He had won nearly everything until today. Now French great Thierry Henry can add MLS Player of the Week to his long list of accolades and triumphs. The North American Soccer Reporters chose him overwhelmingly for Week 3 of the season following a 4-1 home victory over the Colorado Rapids in which he was involved in every goal for the New York Red Bulls, officially finishing with two goals and an assist on the record.
Sunday’s performance versus Colorado was only the second time the star striker has connected for two goals in an MLS game in his career (44 regular season & playoff games).
There were certainly no ill effects from a mid-week trip across the Atlantic to visit ailing friend and former teammate Fabrice Muamba, who narrowly survived a severe cardiac arrest last week playing for Bolton in an FA quarterfinal match versus Tottenham. The brilliant outing began just three minutes into the match when he intercepted an ill-conceived pass by Ross LaBauex and went on to beat Drew Moor in the box as he ripped a shot past Matt Pickens for the opener.
Nearly three minutes later he doubled the advantage. He received the ball at midfield and, after eluding one defender, slipped it forward to a charging Kenny Cooper, who took it into the box to notch the second.
Henry picked up his second eight minutes into the second half on a fantastic set piece in which Wilman Conde delivered a perfect lofted free kick from the half-line over a lulled back four to a streaking Henry, who was all alone to beat Pickens again.
Though uncredited, Henry also helped set up Cooper’s second in the 89th. He received Roy Miller’s throw-in on the left wing and played a quick one-two with Mehdi Ballouchy in the corner before slipping it back off to a driving Miller. The defender drove deep into the box before sliding a low cross into the six for Cooper to redirect into the goal.
He was not done there. Three minutes into stoppage Henry nearly had another breakaway goal to complete a hat-trick. A turnover at midfield quickly made its way to Henry, who only had one defender left to beat. After turning Tyrone Marshall twice as they crossed into the box, the attempt on goal from the penalty spot was not full strength, giving Pickens the opportunity to make a diving stop.
Henry did not have a lot of time to make an impression as a midseason acquisition in 2010, but he finished third in the league in goals a year ago and earned MLS Best XI and All-Star selections in addition to being named Team Most Valuable Player. The only thing he didn’t do was earn Player of the Week or Month honors over the course of the season.
He came close in Week 6 with a similar two-goal, one assist performance in a 4-0 road win over DC United, but came up short in the voting (11-9 of 25) to Landon Donovan, who had a matching stat line in a 3-0 home win versus Portland.
Henry received 18 of the 22 votes cast this week. Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes was the only other player with multiple votes. His two first choice selections were accompanied by 14 second choice picks.
Historically, Henry is the third Frenchman to earn Player of the Week honors in MLS. Youri Djorkaeff, of the then MetroStars, was selected twice in 2005 and Sebastien Le Toux received the honor twice in 2010 playing for the Philadelphia Union.
The Major League Soccer Player of the Week is selected each week of the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from The North American Soccer Reporters (NASR). The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information and membership information can be found at soccerreporters.com.
How They Voted:
|Member||First Choice||Second Choice|
|Buzz Carrick||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Graham Zusi (KC)|
|Michael C. Lewis||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Marc Connolly||Dan Kennedy (CHV)||Thierry Henry (NY)|
|Steve Clare||Joe Cannon (VAN)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Steven Sandor||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Scott French||Thierry Henry (NY)||Raushan McKenzie (CHV)|
|Jonathan Tannenwald||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Don Ruiz||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Frank Giase||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Elliott Almond||Thierry Henry (NY)||Kenny Cooper (NY)|
|Jonah Freedman||Thierry Henry (NY)||Sam Cronin (SJ)|
|Jose Romero||Thierry Henry (NY)||James Riley (CHV)|
|Lisa Eisenmenger||Thierry Henry (NY)||Kei Kamara (KC)|
|Shaun Schafer||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Orrin Schwartz||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Bobby McMahon||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Gerald Barnhart||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Beau Dure||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Aman Dhanoa||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|JP Dellacamera||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Michael Lewis||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
|Tom Timmermann||Thierry Henry (NY)||Chris Wondolowski (SJ)|
- 22 votes cast
What They Had to Say:
Frank Giase (Newark Star-Ledger): “One of Henry’s best games of his MLS career. The second goal was trademark Henry, taking a dribble left, pulling the goalkeeper with him, and slotting inside the right post.”
Shaun Shafer (ColoradoSoccerNow.com): “Henry took advantage of everything the Rapids gave him, and then he delivered like only a striker can. Henry picked up a brace and set up two others in the 4-1 rampage.”