Thursday, February 21, 2013

In 2013, MLS Leans on Thierry Henry to Carry the Load

David Beckham brought the signature team in MLS a mini-dynasty.  Beckham left MLS after two straight Cup titles.

Beckham's MLS tenure was the perfect storm for MLS, as the league grew by teams, attendance and publicity.  Beckham brought amazing goals and assists and topped things off by winning.

Now, it's Thierry Henry's turn.  So far in his first three seasons, his brilliance on the field has been sporadic, but, other-worldly when on display.  His quickness, feet play, corners, assists and headers are thrilling.  He has definitely had his share of great involvement with many goals in MLS.

But, the New York Red Bulls have not benefited from Henry's play when it has come to the playoffs or any of the Cups, including U.S. Open and Champions League.

Henry will have to rally his team and the League, especially after an off-season of attrition that MLS suffered as so many known players left on transfer or free agency.

Henry now sits where Beckham was, the reigning gem of the league.  He's already played on the biggest stages of European Soccer and now must begin to lead his team to relevancy and in the process help the League to take advantage of a potential mini Red Bull dynasty.

He needs help.  Just as Beckham had Donovan, Henry will need his Robin.

Success in New York will give MLS the boost it needs to carry forward.  To a large degree, the LA Galaxy are established and are already a world-renowned team.  New York must follow the Galaxy footprint.

The new stadium where the Red Bulls play their home games in Harrison, New Jersey is a Soccer wonder, a fantastic field for fans to get loud and stay loud throughout the season.  It is a stadium that deserves to be rocking.  The fans must show the faith and the team led by Henry must come through.

In many ways, this first season without Beckham in some time is a make it/break it season for MLS.  It can't be underestimated how important this season is for MLS.  The League can not let 2012 be the apex or peak of its history.  If the League dips down significantly in the public eye in 2013, it could mean the League has a lot less to look forward to for future years.

1 comment:

  1. Thierry Henri? Seriously? What a ridiculous idea. I mean even the catatonic Landon Donovan has a higher media profile than Henri. As great as he might be (sometimes) on the field, on the small screen, he is a ZERO. The MLS had better learn quickly. Controversy, Glamor, off-the-field antics, glamorous WAGS, THAT'S what keeps public interest high. The MLS needs to learn to spin controversy and CREATE ITS OWN STARS. We need a Balotelli crashing hideously expensive sports cars into women's jails, we need some real drunken HOOLOIGANSM, some ridiculously half-baked racial controversy, some salacious sexual escapades with the WAGs, SOMETHING to keep Soccer interesting to the masses. If you are relying on Thierry Henri to keep the spotlight on the MLS, you had better get a plan B going QUICKLY.