Thierry Henry and the Red Bulls are championshipless, a fact they are reminded of on a nearly daily basis it seems. But the French star wants everyone to know that it’s not easy taking home MLS Cup, especially compared to picking up silverware in Europe.
“It’s harder. Way harder,” he told SI’s Grant Wahl in a magazine piece in this week’s issue. “[In Europe] I didn’t have to tell [ex-Arsenal and France teammates] Robert Pires or Patrick Viera what to do, so I was concentrating on what I had to do. I’m not having a go at anyone; I’m just saying that it’s easier to have guys who know exactly what it takes.”
(Which, frankly, sounds exactly like he’s having a go at everyone on his team, but anyway.)
Henry isn’t wrong, mostly due to the parity and the playoffs, two things that make MLS unique and special and fun when compared to the rest of the top-heavy leagues around the world. That said, the Red Bulls are well-funded and packed with some of the best talent in MLS. They should have done better in the playoffs, and Henry sounds like he knows. This is New York, baby; championships are expected.
The forward sounds increasingly frustrated. He went off when Kenny Cooper was shipped out and continued along the same theme when he talked to MLS Soccer’s Nick Firchau:
Don’t get me wrong: An angry, outspoken Henry is a fun Henry for the fans, as long as he can transform that frustration into production. But if the Red Bulls season starts to go sideways — you know, if they blow any two-goal leads and what not — it’s going to be interesting to watch the mercurial Frenchman respond. That locker room could get mighty small in a hurry.
PRAGUE (AP) Czech champion Viktoria Plzen is close to signing Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz.
Plzen says Ivanschitz agreed terms for a contract lasting 1 + seasons and will sign it when the team returns from a training camp in Spain. Ivanschitz has already joined the squad at the Oliva Nova resort, the club says.
Ivanschitz helped the Seattle Sounders win their first MLS Cup in December.
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No financial details were given.
The 33-year-old Ivanschitz also played for Rapid Vienna and Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, Mainz in the Bundesliga, Levante in Spain and Panathinaikos in Athens.
Ivanschitz played 69 games for Austria in 2003-14, scoring 12 goals.
Joel Matip is going to get to play for Liverpool during AFCON after all.
The center back had turned down the chance to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Liverpool was forced to apply to FIFA for a waiver.
[ PL PREVIEW: Swansea vs. Liverpool ]
Matip suffered an ankle injury in December, adding to his desire to stay at Anfield. He declared himself internationally retired and was one of six Cameroon players who refused call-ups for AFCON.
He last played for the Reds on Dec. 11, and can be selected by Jurgen Klopp against Swansea City on Saturday.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney says he raised 1.2 million pounds ($1.5 million) from a friendly game against former club Everton last year.
That represents the profits, after operational costs, from August’s sellout match at Old Trafford and goes toward the Wayne Rooney Foundation’s target of raising 5 million pounds for children’s charities.
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Rooney said: “I’d like to thank all the fans who came to the testimonial and made it such a special night. They’ve raised a huge amount of money for children who are disadvantaged and it will make a real difference to their lives.”
Rooney is one goal from breaking Manchester United’s scoring record, with the striker currently tied with Bobby Charlton on 249 goals.
Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004.
Robert Lewandowski picked up where he left off.
The Polish striker scored twice for Bayern Munich, once in stoppage time, as the Bavarians improved their Bundesliga lead to six points after toppling Freiburg 2-1 on Friday.
[ MORE: Bundesliga second half preview ]
And what a winner it was, Lewandowski taking a Douglas Costa cross with two juggling touches before hitting an offspeed bouncer inside the post.
It was the league’s first match following the winter/holiday break, giving Bayern a cushion before RB Leipzig takes the pitch against Eintracht Frankfurt in a Top Five tilt on Saturday.
Lewandowski moves closer to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the goal scoring chart. His 13th and 14th goals have him two back of Borussia Dortmund’s striker, as Lewandowski pursues a third Golden Boot in four seasons.
Full Weekend Schedule
Freiburg 1-2 Bayern Munich — Friday
Augsburg vs. Hoffenheim — Saturday
Schalke vs. Ingolstadt — Saturday
Darmstadt vs. Borussia Monchengladbach — Saturday
Werder Bremen vs. Borussia Dortmund — Saturday
Wolfsburg vs. Hamburger SV — Saturday
RB Leipzig vs. Eintracht Frankfurt — Saturday
Bayer Leverkusen vs. Hertha Berlin — Sunday
Mainz vs. Koln — Sunday