The Houston Dynamo know they will have their hands full as the New York Red Bulls come to town on Saturday with their newest designated player, Thierry Henry, seeking to make his MLS debut.
Henry put together two solid performances for New York in a pair of exhibitions last week, when he partnered with Macoumba Kandji. However, the likely pairing against Houston will include Henry and Juan Pablo Angel.
“It’s going to be fun, but it’s certainly going to be nerve-wracking,” said Houston defender Eddie Robinson. “Those guys are not out of their prime by any means. You can put that pair in the EPL now, and the two center backs would know they have a game on their hands.”
While Henry will steal the headlines, the Dynamo know that Angel, Kandji, and the rest of Red Bull attack were dangerous before they acquired the French forward.
“They were doing well before Henry,” explained Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. “It is not just [Henry], and we know we have to bring our best to get a win and to go on a run. It’s time now.”
Houston will attempt to contain Henry without their best defender and their starting goalkeeper. Pat Onstad missed practice on Thursday, and it looks likely Hall will continue to start in goal for the fifth consecutive match, including SuperLiga. The young goalkeeper made several good stops against Columbus, but he still hopes to atone for the mistake he made that led to the first goal for the Crew.
“It’s another great opportunity for me,” said Hall. “I have to come in and prove that last week’s mistake was not me and that the team deserves better, and that is what I intend on showing.”
His teammates have faith in their young backstop.
“Anyone makes mistakes, but we certainly feel confident with Tally back there,” Robinson said. “For the last two years, the only reason Tally hasn’t been in the goal is because we have had the most consistent goalkeeper in the league in the last eight years. Tally is a great goalkeeper, and we are happy he is on our team and that we are not playing against him.”
Houston will also be without defender Bobby Boswell, who is suspended for the match against New York. As a result, it's likely Robinson will be paired with either Ryan Cochrane or Adrian Serioux.
“It is the way it’s been going all year with guys in and out with injuries and suspensions,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “It happens. But we have guys like Ryan, Adrian, and Eddie who are all more than capable of playing.”
"Missing [Boswell] is going to hurt,” left back Mike Chabala said. “Guys are going to have to step up and stay organized and make sure defensively we keep the zero and give ourselves the best chance to win.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.