Thierry Henry leads New York past TFC

KURTIS LARSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:27 AM ET

New York’s Thierry Henry cancelled Toronto FC’s dream start with one of the best performances in MLS history Saturday night.

After watching his side go down a goal minutes in at Red Bull Arena, the Frenchman had a hand in the home side’s four unanswered goals, providing three helpers and tacking on a world class finish before a 4-1 final.

Commanding play through the opening moments, Ryan Johnson provided TFC a shock lead six minutes in, creating something from nothing 30 metres from goal. After receiving from the wing, the Jamaican pushed his next touch to the left before lacing a rocket that dipped over New York’s Luis Robles and into the upper corner.

Living dangerously close to the edge of the playoff picture, the Red Bulls overcame their lazy start minutes later in front of a sellout crowd, knotting the score at 1-1 from a Thierry Henry corner. In the 13th minute, Markus Holgersson headed home the Frenchman’s restart to even the proceedings.

The Red Bulls found the go-ahead goal they deserved just before the half-hour mark when a well-orchestrated sequences was capped off by Cooper in the 27th minute. After receiving a flick out wide from Henry, winger Sam Lloyd played Henry in behind TFC’s back line. In a race to the ball with TFC ‘keeper Freddy Hall, Henry slotted across to an open Cooper, who scored into the open goal from the penalty spot.

Head coach Paul Mariner was forced to remove Luis Silva from the match coming out of halftime, killing Toronto’s ability to push forward in search of an equalizer throughout the second half. The club’s first-round draft pick provided the Reds a few moments early in the match, including the through-ball that saw Quincy Amerikwa strike the post minutes in.

Already without the services of Danny Koevermans and Torsten Frings, after an ankle injury two weeks ago sidelined Eric Hassli, the Reds struggled to match the energy it opened the contest with.

In the 51st minute, Henry provided another moment of magic when he danced between a pair of TFC players before hitting a curling that forced Hall into an outstretched save.

Hall was called into action again on the hour mark after Toronto’s back four failed to deal with a cross. New York’s Jan Gunnar Solli had an open look as a result of the confusion but put his half-volley right at Hall.

Terry Dunfield had a late half-chance to level from long range three minutes from time, but Luis Robles collected the Canadian international’s effort from the top of the circle.

Pressing for insurance, Henry repeated his timeless class in the 88th minute, collecting a cross inside the box before beating Darren O’Dea and, again, slotting across to Cooper in a repeat of the game-winner.

Already on three assists, the Frenchman capped off an MLS performance for the ages in stoppage time, curling a breakaway effort from outside the area over Hall and into the back corner to make it 4-1.

Toronto returns to BMO Field next Saturday looking to avoid its league-leading 20th loss when it hosts D.C. United.


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