Henry, Red Bulls knock off Arsenal behind Wright-Phillips goal

 

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Photo by Brad Smith/ISIphotos.com

By RYAN TOLMICH

HARRISON, N.J. — For the 25,219 fans in attendance, it was about the name on the back of the jersey more-so than the logo on the front.

In a clash between Arsenal and the New York Red Bulls, forward Thierry Henry was the star of the show, as his current side knocked off his former team, 1-0, behind a first-half Bradley Wright-Phillips finish.

In a game that started off with the quickness of anything but a friendly, it was the Arsenal legend Henry who nearly opened the scoring in the game’s opening five minutes. However, the 36-year-old’s one-on-one opportunity was pushed away by Gunners keeper Wojciech Szczesny.

For their part, the visitors missed a pair of chances of their own, as Arsenal stars Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey pushed shots just wide in the seventh and 18th minutes, respectively.

The hosts finally broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute, as former Premier League forward Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his six-game goalscoring streak against one of England’s top sides. Wright-Phillips, who has now scored six in as many games, scored via an Henry corner. The Frenchman’s ball found the head of Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya, who headed into the path of the Wright-Phillips for the game’s only score.

“I like it when someone good in the air goes to the back post,” Wright-Phillips said to describe his goal. “I just like to get in and around the box in case they head it down. I’ve done it many times and it hasn’t come off. This time it did.”

“He was dangerous throughout the game,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, “because, in the first half Thierry Henry dropped off and (Wright-Phillips) made some good runs that Thierry could find him behind our defenders. We had a very experimental defense today and he was very dangerous.”

The goal was a bit more special for the English forward as his father, Ian, played for the club for seven seasons.

“He’s an Arsenal fan,” said Henry. “I guess for him, he never thought one day that he was going to beat Arsenal with one of his goals as the winning goal in New York. Although it’s a friendly game, as an Arsenal fan, it’s always going to be a special one.”

Arsenal had a chance to even things up just seven minutes later in an opportunity that greatly resembled their now-famous goal against Norwich City last season. A slew of one-touch passes around the box found their way to midfielder Jack Wilshere, who fired at the net only to find a sprawling Luis Robles in the way to make the save, keeping the score 1-0 heading into the half.

Henry emerged from halftime and took his place among his Red Bull teammates, but the Frenchman was taken out just seven minutes into the half to a loud ovation from Red Bulls and Arsenal supporters alike.

“It was a special moment,” Henry said, “but it was more important for me that Andre Akpan could play against Arsenal. Ruben Bover, (Michael) Bustamante and all of the guys sometimes that don’t play a lot in the league. It’s not always that you can play against Arsenal in New York, so that was where my mind was. We did what we had to in the first half.”

The visitors finally found the back of the net just moments after Henry’s exit, as Arsenal substitute Abou Diaby’s one-on-one finish was ruled offside, much to the dismay of the raucous Arsenal crowd in attendance.

Robles came up big for the Red Bulls yet again in the 79th, putting the lid on yet another Arsenal opportunity. The Red Bulls keeper came off his line and took the ball from a charging Chuba Akpom, denying the Gunners yet again.

Despite the win, Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke was quick to point out that the Red Bulls still have to fight to earn the status possessed by a club like Arsenal.

“Are we a better team than Arsenal?” Petke said. “When they’re at their peak and we’re at our peak, I like to think that it would be a good game, but obviously what kind of club they are and the level of talent, the money that they put into that, they’re a world-class club.”

However, with a victory over a world-class club, Wright-Phillips pointed out that the team takes some pride in representing MLS.

“It was good,” said the goalscorer. “Obviously, it’s just their second game and they’re getting their fitness. We showed them what MLS is about. I think we did well.”

The Red Bulls next step in MLS play will come Wednesday, as Henry, Wright-Phillips and co. turn their focus towards a clash with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“Our focus now is on Salt Lake,” said Henry. “The distraction is out of the way now and let’s concentrate on Salt Lake because it will be a different kind of game.”

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17 Responses to Henry, Red Bulls knock off Arsenal behind Wright-Phillips goal

  1. lprevolution says:

    Arsenal, “Always trying to walk it in.” Well done by NY. They controlled the game. Calling on Arsenal fans of NY/NJ: Come to RB Arena and support this team.

    • MikeG says:

      Analyze “always trying to walk it in” please.

    • reignman says:

      They controlled the game? Eh. It was just a fairly lackluster game from both sides. Arsenal had a couple of good passages as did RBNY but to say one team controlled it is a stretch.

      • lprevolution says:

        “Always trying to walk it in.” Its a reference to the “IT Crowd.”

        Well said reignman.

  2. B16 says:

    Did Zelalem play and if so, how did he look?

    • Mike says:

      He only played the first half. Didn’t see too much of the ball but had a beautiful one touch pass in the box for what could have been a goal.

    • Ali Dia says:

      We peeked in the oven and Arsene was right… it’s not done yet. He has a very sleight build, even for a 17 year old Arsenal player, and it’s hard to even visualize him in his full frame yet. But he wasn’t bad, and he did play a particularly nice ball that was enough to say “Ok I see it”. I’d give him at least a year before expecting much more. For now “on track” would seem like a fair rating.

    • JayAre says:

      Play just like Green did early. You could tell he was a little overwhelmed by the big stage. He seemed nervous to take on defenders one on one and he gave Henry a lot of respect when chasing him down. Lets no get to excited about him that how we normally kill talent but he’s got something worth waiting for

      • Fast Eddie says:

        Just like Green did early …..nervous to take on defenders one on one……..

        Seems to me that from his first play, against Mexico, Julian was not afraid to take on defenders at all, even two at a time.

  3. Sean357 says:

    The would be assist on Wilshere’s almost goal came from Zelalem. Other than that quiet yet clean half from the youngster. Definitely see the potential but needs to work on his confidence, there were some moments where you could tell he thought for a second about trying the killer pass but went with the safe option.

    • Jake says:

      That about sums it up. I think the main thing for me is that he is a 17 year old kid able to stay on the field with players of that caliber. For now, that is good enough for me. Give it another year and lets see what happens.

    • Lorenzo says:

      He can play a role in our YNT or Olympic team right? I would think that is the focus for him now, probably becoming eligible and playing with the Olympic team.

      • Deigo's Maradoughnuts says:

        The noises coming from him suggest he may not wish to switch/commit by that time. He has been in Germany’s youth setup and limited signs suggest that’s where he’ll stay for the moment.

  4. Dan in New York says:

    Arsenal still has not beaten the Red Bulls!

  5. Jay Ro says:

    I’m a DCU supporter, but I love the quote from Henry about how excited he was for his current teammates, especially the squad players, to have some fun playing in this game. He’d be so easy to root for if he weren’t a Red Bull.

  6. MLS to el paso tx says:

    Good for red bull to win, but henry is getting ready to call it quits and cahill is more of a poacher and red bull needs a number 10 like all mls teams.
    red bull should have or go for chicharrito or drogba but ronaldinho would be amazing for red bull, and it would create a positive sign on the academy.
    I also don’t think red bull wants to waste big money on Dps, since they love their youth movement n weird coach.
    however red bull need to become new jersey red bullS or represent new jersey more than nyc. I know about frisco, brideview, chester but nj is way different.
    how about new jersey metros, garden state red bulls, not red bull.
    imagine having atlanta coca-cola, miami gatorade :)
    will mls step in and make them rebrand or sell.
    will cosmos smell the chance n become red bull friend.