Red Bulls Shine in Toronto – Playoffs in Sight

 
Pre-game photo of
New York Red Bulls in Toronto
With two new high-profile designated players in the line-up, it may come as no surprise that the New York Red Bulls are gathering a lot steam in the stretch run to the playoffs.
 
Perhaps the most worrying thing, if you’re every other team in the MLS, is the fact that both Thierry Henry and Raphael Márquez are still working themselves into shape and still adjusting to their new team.
 
New York is 2-1-2 in their past five matches, including two pivotal victories over Toronto FC in the past ten days as they extended their lead over third-place Toronto to eight points and ten points over Chicago. The recent success has nudged New York ever closer to clinching an automatic playoff berth by finishing in second place, but still remain six points shy of Columbus Crew for top spot…that is for now.
 
Once the team is firing on all cylinders with Henry and Márquez up to full fitness, the Red Bulls will most certainly be a force to be reckoned with if their emphatic 4-1 win on Saturday in Toronto was any indication.
 
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” said captain Juan Pablo Ángel. “We can see that as the season goes on we get stronger and stronger and I’m sure we’re going to be in a good shape if we get to make the playoffs. Rafa and Henry are getting fitter and better and you can see they’re getting sharper. Rafa today was outstanding. The goal was one of his trademarks and in general I’m very happy for what happened today.”
 
 
Red Bulls captain
Juan Pablo Ángel (right)
Márquez opened the scoring when he netted an amazing strike that is seldom seen in the MLS. The video of the goal, his first as a member of the Red Bulls, has already been making the rounds on online sports blogs via a YouTube video which can be seen below.
 
“It was an opportunity I had outside of the box,” said the Mexican international through a translator. “Tony (Tchani) gave me a pass and my one option was to take a strike at the goal.”
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDCC4CHf_0c
 
Henry Adjusts to Life in NYC
 
 
Red Bulls midfielder
Raphael Márquez (right)
eludes Toronto FC’s
Dwayne De Rosario (left)
One of the newest members of the New York Red Bulls, Thierry Henry is slowly adjusting to Major League Soccer and life in New York City.
 
Henry has played in big cities before, but nothing quite like New York City. He’s used to being on the front pages and being in the limelight but with all the different sports competing for people’s attentions and hard earned money in the ‘Big Apple’, it’s a simple fact that the Red Bulls take a backseat to teams like the Yankees and Giants.
 
“Competing with the Yankees and the Giants and everybody else, it’s a tough one, we’re trying to do what we can,” said Henry.
 
“I played in England, I played in Italy, I played in Spain, I played in France and the pressure is always around. As you know it’s kind of difficult to get in front of Yankees if you talk about front page. Even if you win, whatever you win, (laughs Henry), at the end of the day that’s the way it is.”
 
The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker has struggled with minor injuries as well as his fitness since joining the Red Bulls in mid-July. Henry has yet to score for his new team but he is starting to get chances, and as he puts it the goals will come, but he’s more concerned with his team getting the win.
 
“I don’t mind…the most important thing for me is that the team wins,” said the Frenchman.
 
 
Red Bulls striker
Thierry Henry (right) battles
Toronto FC defender
Adrian Cann (left) for the ball
“I’m trying to fight with my fitness since I have arrived but it’s coming surely, but slowly. I said I will be more worried if I didn’t get opportunities but I do get them and I just need to work on putting them so many back of the net and I know that will come. If we didn’t win today then I would have been really upset, at the end of the day we won, we needed to win against a great Toronto team.”
 
Before the match on Saturday, Henry had heard a lot about the crowds in Toronto. After experiencing the atmosphere firsthand, he was more than impressed with what he saw as he paid quite the compliment to Toronto FC’s passionate and loyal fans.
 
“It’s great, the atmosphere today, their fans are amazing,” said Henry.
 
“Here I knew some of the guys played in Toronto told me that they have some great fans. When I saw that today, they were really cheering just like in Europe.”

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Contact Aman Dhanoa at aman@oyetimes.com

Photos courtesy of Annandi Merhai of Devi Designs

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