It’s not that Wednesday’s game was that taxing, though based on the efforts Tim Cahill, Thierry Henry, and Bradley Wright-Phillips gave during the MLS All-Stars’ 2-1 win over Bayern Munich in Portland, Ore., the trio of Red Bull veterans would be forgiven for carrying tired legs back to New Jersey. Cahill’s hard-nosed play helped set the tone for a surprisingly contentious evening, while Henry’s effort on the FieldTurf of Providence Park was cited as an example by his All-Star teammates. With Wright-Phillips a part of the crew that helped kill off the team’s win, all three did more than stroll through a half’s worth of soccer.
No, it’s the travel that may really get them tomorrow in Chicago. At home to New England last Saturday. In Portland by Sunday. Back in New Jersey on Friday, and set to play in Bridgeville, Ill. tomorrow, the three veterans, who’ll carry a combined 99 years into tomorrow’s game, have barely had a chance to sit still, let alone relax and recover.
Speaking to the league’ website, Henry, 36, concedes he’s feeling the effects:
“It wasn’t easy, I will be honest,” Henry said. “…I’m not going to complain that’s what we like, that’s what we love to do. Having said that, it’s not an easy one but you have to perform under any circumstances. We’re going to try to do that, it won’t be easy against Chicago. … Hopefully we can do something and recover well.”
Or, perhaps Mike Petke could rest them? Undoubtedly, the Red Bulls boss will look for a chance to get his veterans off the field, but amid a tight playoff race in the East, days off are a luxury few teams can afford.
“It would’ve been tough to play [Saturday],”Petke told MLSSoccer.com. “I think, with any indication from practice today, if they are not ready yet, they are very close and, by [Sunday], they should be.”
As for Chicago, no Fire players were on the All-Star team, leaving the likes of Mike Magee, Harry Shipp, and Sean Johnson eight days to recover and prepare for the Red Bulls’ well-traveled stars.