Saturday, July 10, 2010

Almost Official: Thierry Henry in the MLS Soon

Zac Lee Rigg (apparently, his real name) of is looking at the way the NY Red Bulls have designated a press conference day, and he's read the tea leaves, and he's decided (quite rightly) that Monsieur Henry is on his way to the MLS.  Which is neat and stuff.  If you like guys who didn't leave Europe out of choice or injury concern, but because they just weren't very good anymore.

But if you want to drive me crazy, may I suggest the Zac Lee Rigg way, which is to refer to player's abilities from 5 years ago as if they still have them?  "The Frenchman will become the best player to ever sign for Major League Soccer."  Not true, sir!  Unless we are speaking of his past accomplishments--I have a feeling that Henry is going to be a lot closer to Lothar Matthaus commitment than say, Carlos Valderrama or Hristo Stoichkov.

Henry sat on the bench for Barcelona, who basically opened the door and gently pushed him out.  When the French World Cup team was struggling to not exit early, they pointedly left Henry on the bench.  He's 32, he's been basically asked to leave Europe, and the MLS and the New York Red Bulls and would like you to believe he's going to bring legitimacy to the MLS.  But that don't make it so.  When Ricky Williams, faced with Drug Suspensions in the NFL, went to the Canadian Football League, no one talked about how it was a chance to show that the CFL was on the cusp of competing with the NFL.  Taking the top league's trash (to be horribly frank) is not the way to prove your own league.

I'm happy Henry will be doing the European Retirement Tour here in America, but let's not kid ourselves.  He's not anything particularly special at this point.  The fact that he might be a provider of special moments in the MLS says more about the MLS than we would all like to admit.  The best player to ever sign with the MLS?  Sure, if we are talking biographies. That's the same logic that led the NASL to sign over the hill luminaries like Pele and Cruyff.  And when they left, the league collapsed.  Tread carefully, MLS.

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