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Thierry Henry returns to Red Bull Arena as a manager with Montreal

A legendary former Red Bull brings his banged-up and suspension-riddled squad to New York for more than just a road trip

MLS: New England Revolution at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

During a weekend when the club appears to be lining up their future manager, a New York Red Bulls legend from the past will be inside the opposite technical area tonight for Montreal Impact as Thierry Henry will return to the building he called home for four-and-a-half years.

A World Cup winner with France and Premier League superstar with Arsenal, Henry became a pivotal figure as New York moved into Red Bull Arena and established itself as one of the league’s most successful clubs of the 2010s, captaining the team to its first Supporters Shield title in 2013. Red Bulls interim manager Bradley Carnell spoke about facing Montreal and Henry, who was a playing contemporary of his.

“I think its going to be fun. I had the opportunity to play against him, but he won’t remember that as we played in the Nelson Mandela Challenge Cup in South Africa as France took on the Bafana Bafana (South African national team). I showed my wife clips of him, what a player he was. But as I told my players we don’t care about the names on the back of the jerseys, just the emblem above the crest.”

“We respect the people who have done amazing things with soccer, And with all that respect. Like we played against World Cup Winners as we played against them last match, to take on Henry will be challenge and we are focusing in on our next opponent.”

Red Bulls midfielder Florian Valot, a native of France, spoke about how he’s staying grounded when facing a childhood idol.

“As of now I don’t really care what he did (as a player) because he is just a coach and he is the head coach for Montreal the opponent, during the game we don’t think about those things.” said Valot, “During the game we don’t think about those tings, but maybe after the game we can think about having a good performance against a legend.”

“But right now I’m just focused on the game and not on him. Even though he is a childhood star, like a dream player for me, but right now I won’t think about that, only after the game I can have a chat with him.”

The Impact are coming to Harison with a slew of injuries that will force Henry to make some difficult decisions with the lineup against the Red Bulls tonight. Honduran striker Romell Quioto is serving a suspension. Midfielders Steeven Saba is out with a left foot injury, Mathieu Choiniere is out with an ankle injury, Balou Tabla is out with an abductor injury, and striker Orji Okwonkwo is suffering from a hamstring injury. So does this situation encourage the Red Bulls defense?

“I think it’s going to be an energetic match, we always get to get into some good matches with those guys. It might be a little bit back and forth, but maybe we can control it this time around.” said Tim Parker, ““I feel like defensively we have been pulling wins late, with all the games we have played and will play, it’s something we need to continue to push and strive for. It’s not just the backline, but the whole team defensively is striving for.”