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Henry's MVP campaign truly came to a head Saturday night.
Generally speaking, the rhetorical strategy of using your opponent's views as a rod with which to beat him over the head is a sure fire way to make sure your discussion is in no way meaningful. Then again, rarely is the answer to a question, in this case, "Who is the best player in MLS?" so obvious.
The answer is Thierry Henry.
Is there bias here? A bit. Obviously, you have to take into account where the argument is coming from. Blinded by reputation? Perhaps a bit. But the numbers don't lie. He's tied for fourth in the league with 12 assists and tied for fourth in goals with 14, all in 1,838 minutes (that's 22 appearances with 21 starts). The three men ahead of him, teammate Kenny Cooper (16 goals in 30 appearances), Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio (17 goals in 29 appearances) and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski (22 goals in 29 appearances) have played 413, 372 and 705 minutes more than Henry, respectively. The LA Galaxy's Robbie Keane is tied with 14 and has played 411 more minutes.
So Henry scores at an incredible rate. But he sets his teammates up like none of the other scorers listed. As far as assists go, the next closest top 5 goal scorers on the assists list is Keane with 8. Wondowlowski has 7.
But numbers are only one thing, what really matters is how Henry makes the team better. The olimpico against the Columbus Crew, taking advantage of an out-of-position keeper to notch a brace for the Red Bulls. His chip over the head of Matt Reis against the New England Revolution was the game's only goal. His free kick goal against D.C. United -- the only bright spot in an otherwise dreadful game for the Red Bulls showed he was deadly on free kicks, too.
A random smattering of goals maybe, but it highlights his ability to be threatening in multiple phases of the game. He demands the attention no matter where he is. Case in point, Saturday night against Toronto FC.
In a game the man himself deemed a "must win" against a basement-dwelling side in the Reds, Henry showed exactly what he's capable of. He recorded his first assist after launching a corner the direction of Tim Cahill. The ball, instead, hit the forehead of Markus Holgersson, who redirected it into the net to bring the Red Bulls level. He doubled his assist total in the 27th minute, finding a wide open Cooper with a defender and the keeper bearing down on him. Cooper's finish put them ahead. Cooper and Henry would hook up again late in the game when Henry, with two defenders and a keeper on him, and two others closing down, found Cooper for the brace. Henry capped off the night with a chip from outside the box and a Man of the Match award as voted on by the Red Bull Arena faithful.
His best performance in the league. A performance that conveniently showed off all the ways Henry can victimize a team, even when the opposition drapes him in their entire back line.
If you're looking for my argument, aside from just pure numerology and a tendency to beat you over the head with your own stupidity, the above graf and accompanying highlights are it. Nothing quite speaks to all the tools he has to beat you as that, and there are seldom few players who can do it as well as he can.