Thierry Henry's landmark assists for New York Red Bulls

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Three more assists in week 18 of the 2014 MLS regular season took Henry's career assist total for RBNY to 39, which is a share of the club's all-time record. Here is a look at some of the work that got him to another record in New York...

As you may have heard, Thierry Henry had a special game against Columbus on July 12: the New York Red Bulls won 4-1, and Titi chimed in with a goal and three assists.


The assists got most of the attention, because they provide statistical proof of what has long been evident to RBNY fans and observers: Henry's insatiable desire to win mixed with the inevitable consequences of age have combined to see him increasingly fill a playmaking role in the team.

He lines up as one of two forwards in a 4-4-2 formation, but he plays as a roaming creative spark. Against Columbus, he created goals from wide leftwide right, and through the middle.

Those three assists also elevated Henry in his club's history. He is already RBNY's second-highest goalscorer of all-time, a record he cemented with his goal against Columbus. And has the team's all-time record for most goals created or scored - the combined total of goals and assists.


Now, he is also RBNY's all-time assist leader. To clarify, he has the club record for assists in the MLS regular season all to himself: 37, one more than Amado Guevara and Tab Ramos.

However, the New York Red Bulls, formerly MetroStars, do not simply play one competition every year. There is US Open Cup. There is the occasional CONCACAF Champions League (like this year!). And there are the MLS playoffs, which are kept statistically distinct from the regular season for the purposes of confusing everyone. (As always, a big thanks to Metrofanatic.com for keeping the records straight.)

To say Thierry Henry is RBNY's all-time assist leader, one must account for all competitions. Fortunately, his three assists brought him into a three-way tie with Guevara and Ramos on the all-time, all-competitions assist-making list.

Titi has been credited with 39 assists so far in his work for RBNY, and that is as many as anyone else has ever managed to accumulate for this club. His next assist will make him the sole owner of the team's assist record, but Guevara and Ramos are not bad company, and most seem to have anointed him already, so let's give the man his due by taking a look back at some of the assists that got him to the record.

#1: vs. Houston Dynamo, MLS regular season, 7/31/10

Henry's first assist came in his first competitive game for RBNY. So did his second. Somewhere out there is, presumably, video evidence of the event - but it has eluded the author of this post.

Titi hopped aboard the Red Bulls' bandwagon midway through the 2010 season. With hindsight, he fell prey to the usual problem many players have when they transition from their off-season to a MLS season in full swing: it's hard to catch up from a standing start.

Henry played 11 regular season games and six minutes of a lost-cause playoff second leg against San Jose. He scored two goals and registered three assists. In other words, he didn't do a great deal after kicking off his career as a Red Bull by setting up Juan Pablo Angel twice in a 2-2 draw with Houston.

The partnership with Angel was short-lived, though Titi's comments in the post-match interview foreshadowed what might have been, if the Backe-Soler management team had the foresight to understand that MLS has plenty of guys who can stick the ball in the net, but few who have ever done that as well as Angel, and even fewer as creative as Henry.

"I don't mind dropping and playing as a second striker," said the man who would one day be RBNY's all-time assist leader (0:59 mark in the video below).


#10: vs. Colorado Rapids, MLS regular season, 3/25/12

The second-striker stuff had to wait a while. Henry's first full season saw him do what it was assumed he would do here: score goals. He got 14 for the regular season and one in the playoffs, and a mere five assists. His partnership with Luke Rodgers was largely about two forwards roaming around up front, feeding off each other's runs and whatever the midfield could give them.

In 2012, however, we started to get a hint of what was to come. Titi scored more than ever before for RBNY - 15 for the year - but he also set up more than he'd managed in the season-and-a-half prior. Twelve assists came in 2012, though at the time, the perception was Henry was frustrated with Kenny Cooper's shoot-first-look-around-later approach, despite the ample goals it brought for the team.

Titi's tenth assist was, in fairness, a lot to do with Cooper and little to do with the captain. It was the 2012 home opener; RBNY had started the season with two road losses. Hans Backe shook things up and handed Cooper his first start. The result: two goals apiece for Henry and Cooper, and a 4-1 win.

The assist came in the sixth minute, with RBNY already up a goal. Henry played his strike partner through, Cooper ran himself a little wider than one would think ideal, and did what he knew how to do - shot at goal and hoped for the best. The best happened: KFC was going to have a very good year.


#20: vs. Toronto FC, MLS regular season, 9/29/12

The twentieth assist on the road to 39 also came in the 2012 season, and combined elements of the past (it was another Kenny Cooper goal in a 4-1 win) with hints at the future (it was a 4-1 win in which Henry scored one and assisted on the other three).

Overall, this was a game to rival the one Henry just had against Columbus: he was a part of pretty much everything good that happened.

His final assist of this game was his last of the 2012 season, and his twentieth in a RBNY jersey. It was one of his best: juggling into traffic, until it appeared he would simply be overwhelmed by TFC defenders, then slipping the ball out to Cooper for a tap in.

#30: vs. Houston Dynamo, first leg of 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals, 11/3/2013

THAT game. It is 2013: the Supporters' Shield is won; home advantage throughout the playoffs beckons; RBNY trots down to Houston for the first leg, and Thierry Henry sets up Tim Cahill to open the scoring with a cross into the box for the hungry head of the Australian.

Assist #30 should have been the start of special playoff run, but...yeah, things didn't go too well.


#39: vs. Columbus Crew, MLS regular season, 7/12/14

All of which brings us to this: week 18 of the 2014 MLS regular season and another one of those magical nights when Henry takes over a game and RBNY wins 4-1.

#39 was not Henry's greatest, or his most important to the club. It was merely the one that made him RBNY's co-leader in career assists (for now).


Well done, Titi. One more to make this record entirely your own - or whatever you think you have to do to get what we'd all prefer: more trophies.

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