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.
It isn’t always the score at the end of the match that matters, and Orlando City proved that with its recent friendly to benefit those affected by hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
[ MORE: Whitecaps announce USL affiliation with expansion side Fresno FC ]
Orlando City faced off with the Puerto Rico national team on Nov. 4, which the Lions won 6-1, but it was the club’s humanitarian efforts that proved to be the real story from the event.
The club announced that it raised $327,530 from the match, with all proceeds from the event going directly to the Puerto Rican people.
“I’m very proud of what our Club and our partners were able to accomplish,” Orlando City SC owner Flavio Augusto da Silva said in a team statement. “What we did meant more than just raising funds for Puerto Rico. Once again, we came together as a community to rally behind something bigger than us all.”
The Vancouver Whitecaps will continue their stake in USL next season, but it won’t be with their current affiliate.
[ MORE: Caleb Porter out with the Portland Timbers ]
The Western Conference side announced on Friday that it will bring a new affiliate into USL in 2018 as Fresno FC makes its debut in the Division II league.
In the wake of this decision by the Whitecaps, the club’s current USL side, Vancouver Whitecaps 2, won’t be returning to the league in the near future.
“First of all, we would like to thank every person who has worked tirelessly with Whitecaps FC 2 over the past three seasons,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. “With both the USL and Canadian soccer landscapes evolving, now is the right time to make this change for our club. We are delighted to be working with Fresno FC, where the USL will provide the opportunity for high-level competition that will benefit our first team in MLS in the future. We expect that the internal competition for playing time at Fresno FC will provide a tremendous and challenging environment for our top young players.”
The relationship between Vancouver and Fresno will operate similarly to the club’s former status with Whitecaps 2, which allows the senior team to send players down and sign them to MLS contracts when seen fit by the club.
Former MLS manager Frank Yallop serves as general manager for the new USL side, while Adam Smith has been named Fresno’s first head coach.
Chris Coleman has been a hot name in the managerial game after making noise with Wales at the 2016 EURO Championships.
[ MORE: Man United looks to rebound against Newcastle ]
It appears the 47-year-old is about to embark on a new adventure though, with several reports indicating that Coleman will take over at Sunderland, who currently plays in the English Championship.
The Welsh FA revealed the following statement on Friday:
“We are extremely disappointed to see Chris’ tenure as Wales manager come to an end,” said Chief Executive Jonathan Ford.
“The FAW and Wales as a nation will be eternally grateful for the job he has done over the last six years as National Team Manager, from travelling the length and breadth of Wales outside of the media spotlight to talk to players and supporters, to guiding us to the semi-finals of the European Championships.
“We wish Chris the very best of luck for the future as he returns to club management, a desire for which he has always been honest and open about.”
The Black Cats currently sit dead last (24th place) in England’s second flight on 10 points through its opening 16 matches.
Sunderland finished the 2016/17 season at the bottom of the Premier League table, before being relegated ahead of the current campaign.
[ MORE: Pogba, Ibrahimovic, Rojo could return this weekend for Man United ]
Coleman helped guide the Welsh to the semifinals at EURO 2016, where his side fell to eventual champions Portugal. The Welsh had never previously qualified for the European Championships and hasn’t reached the World Cup since 1958.
- Red Devils unbeaten in 31 of last 32 home fixtures vs. Newcastle
- Newcastle winless in its last six PL matches
- Lukaku hasn’t scored in United’s last seven games
Manchester United hosts Newcastle United on Saturday from Old Trafford (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET, on NBC and NBCSports.com) as the Red Devils could potentially welcome back several of it biggest stars for the match.
WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Marcos Rojo could return for Jose Mourinho’s side this weekend, as Man United looks to bounce back from its 1-0 defeat to Chelsea on Nov. 5.
The ex-Sweden international Ibrahimovic hasn’t appeared in a match since April 2017, after being United’s top goalscorer a season ago.
The Red Devils will have to deal with the absence of Phil Jones at the back, though, as the England international misses out on the match with a thigh injury.
Newcastle will be without Christian Atsu and Jamaal Lascelles, which certainly hurts the squad’s attack, while Mikel Merino and Paul Dummett remain sidelined with respective injuries.
What they’re saying
Jose Mourinho, on Paul Pogba’s status: “I can say now because he’s back – I don’t like to speak while he’s injured – you can clearly see there is a Manchester United this season before Paul’s injury and after Paul’s injury. There are qualities in our football, qualities that influence our approach in matches, with Pogba and without Pogba. Simple as that.”
Rafa Benitez, on growing pains of being a young side: “We are a newly-promoted club that has to settle down in the Premier League. We have a young squad, so it’s a learning process for everyone and losing some games is part of the process. Hopefully we can stop that this weekend, but we know it has to be like this. We have to think that the target is to stay in the Premier League, then after try to go as high as we can in the table.”
Newcastle has had its share of struggles this season, and running into a Man United side that is gaining full fitness is a dangerous task. The Red Devils are a tough squad to beat at home, so Rafa Benitez and Co. have their hands full. Man United 2-0 Newcastle