Thursday, July 15, 2010

Handball Thierry Henry Coming to MLS

How about a hand for MLS? Thierry Henry is joining America's first division and I'm anxious to see him lend his touch to Red Bull New York. Finally, a big-time name playing for a big-time East Coast city; not much of a head-scratcher if you ask me. Sounds like a solid plan to bring in the fading French star to a ballclub with a new ballpark in order to generate interest and give the New Yorkers an identity. Can't wait for the ovation--for sure it won't sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.

OK, enough veiled handball references. If you got the sarcasm, 10 points to you for being able to read between the lines. This deal, from a big-picture point of view, is everything that's wrong with MLS. In and of itself, no there's nothing wrong with Henry. He still has his legs. He'll standout with Red Bull NY, score his share and put butts in the seats. A win all around.

But hey MLS, what about all that talk of not turning MLS into the NASL? First David Beckham, now Henry. Paging Mr. Zidane, Mr. Zinadine Zidane? Granted, Henry isn't breaking the bank with his deal, but Beckham's tenure with the L.A. Galaxy was nothing short of disastrous. From Day 1, Beckham chased a coach and had L.A. bring in Ruud Gullitt as his choice. How did that go? Right. Then they stripped Landon Donovan of the captain's armband in favor of Becks, who from Day 1, COULDN'T PLAY!!

Remember his first appearance in L.A. against Chelsea? He was on the bench tugging at his gimpy ankle for 70-plus minutes before he got some token time late in the match. This was and is Donovan's team and for cowardly Alexi Lalas to have done that to Donovan is still unforgivable. And what did Beckham do the first chance he could? Yes, he bolted for A.C. Milan. Why? Again, reading between the lines, he wanted better competition. He wanted a bigger stage in order to keep his spot on the England World Cup team.

Will the former Mr. Nicole Merry disrupt Red Bull to the same degree? Maybe not. Red Bull is MLS' classic underachiever. They've made one final and have been in the playoff hunt a handful of other times. But its desperately lacking a name star--sorry Juan Pablo Angel, as good as he is, ain't a household name. And that's the problem with Henry. His is a household name, and his cache' is what brings him here. Would Thierry Henry have come here five years ago? Nooooooo.

MLS is where good players come to die/retire. Henry will be on holiday here, playing in the second-division for the offseason, hoping for one last fling in Europe with a Tottenham-type of team. He'll sell tickets in New York for sure, and will generate a curiosity factor in other cities, at least the first time around. He'll score some goals and win some games--maybe.

But this isn't a good deal for MLS. In fact MLS, call me when you sign a Thierry Henry type IN HIS PRIME. Until then, I've seen this show before. Not interested.

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1 comment:

David said...

I would agree with you if this was the MLS five years ago. With the introduction of Seattle, Philly, Portland, Vancouver and then Montreal, I think you are seeing a genuine shift. In the next five years, you will see a few Henry-types in their prime come in because the appeal of living in the US for Europeans is a big draw (just go to the Southwest during the European winter). Things are changing in MLS... just go catch a Sounder's match in Seattle or Philly.

Soccer isn't the world's game for no reason.