Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
HARRISON, N.J.– Of all the story lines following the New York Red Bulls this season, the struggles in front of goal for forward Peguy Luyindula is the only one to endure through July.
That is, until Saturday night.
With a simple gesture, normal penalty kick taker Thierry Henry placed the ball in Luyindula’s arms after the Red Bulls were awarded a penalty kick in the 87th minute. A minute later, Luyindula fittingly scored his first goal of the season on the team’s first penalty kick of 2013. The late goal put the finishing touches on a Red Bulls 4-0 rout of the Montreal Impact.
I was thinking that (Henry) was going to kick it, and then he started coming right to me to give me the ball,” Luyindula said following the match. “It was kind of him because he knows me, we’ve known each other for a long time, and I was waiting for that goal. It’s a high class gift.
“It was cool, because it gave me power,” Luyindula said.
When the Frenchman signed with the Red Bulls on March 19, fans expected him to immediately come in and show off the ability that made him earn contracts and playing time at big clubs in France like Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain. Instead, two separate hamstring injuries and the arrival after the season started meant that Luyindula has struggled to find his rhythm.
Though Luyindula has been a point of contention at times from the Red Bulls supporters due to his scoring struggles, he never once lost the faith and support of the team.
“Peguy has a vision of the game that’s better than most people, he sees things, his control is great, he’s a set up man, and he hasn’t been able to find the back of the net,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. “As a forward that’s frustrating.
“I think it’s very important that Peguy stepped up and took that shot and he converted it,” Petke added.