On a spectacular late-summer Saturday afternoon at their gorgeous new stadium, the Red Bulls downed visiting playoff contenders Colorado 3-1 in a game that delivered four quality goals.
One of them, a 30-yard rocket off the underside of the bar from Colorado’s Omar Cummings, is a surefire nominee for Goal of the Week, which could put it in the running for Goal of the Year.
Cummings’ strike is worthy of consideration, no doubt about it, but so too, we would argue, is Thierry Henry’s 17th-minute opener, the second goal of his short MLS career. Here it is:
There are two touches in this sequence that separate it from the pack, in our humble opinion. The first is Henry’s off-rhythm doink (to use the technical term) to Joel Lindpere in the ‘give’ portion of the give-and-go.
Henry comes to a full stop and stands up straight, in front of Colorado defender Kosuke Kimura. Then, as he sets up the entire stadium for a pass with his right foot, in one fluid motion he pokes it with his left and takes off running.
Kimura is utterly flat-footed as Henry blazes past him. The Rapids defender has just been snake-charmed, lulled to sleep. By the time he wakes up, Henry has left him in the dust.
The second touch is Lindpere’s return backheel (the sequence began with an Henry backheel): Note how he sends it forward, toward goal, but not too far that Rapids keeper Matt Pickens can claim it.
It’s a backheel, and it’s perfectly weighted, in a perfect spot for Henry to finish, which he does with authority.
Red Bull Arena went bananas when the ball hit the net, and when the dust settled, the guy in front of us—a MetroBull lifer, like us—turned and faced us with a smile so wide it pushed his ears up onto his scalp.
He didn’t say anything, and he didn’t have to. We knew what he meant: Yes! After 15 years of waiting and suffering, we finally have legitimate professional soccer right here. Hell and yes.
You will see more SportsCenter-ready goals than that this year—Cummings’s awesome strike being one of them—but none better, for our money.
Bonus clip: Henry has been in the league for eight games. He has two goals, three assists, and—already—a highlight reel many career MLSers would envy. Enjoy: