New York Red Bulls host New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference Final first-leg on Sunday night, and two of Major League Soccer‘s best playmakers are set to go head-to-head in Thierry Henry and Lee Nguyen.
Henry has been a world-class talent for much of his career and he would be an integral part of any side, even at 37. The French genius is vital for the Red Bulls and his form in the MLS Playoffs so far this season has been a joy to watch.
He is arguably in the best run of form we’ve seen of him in a New York shirt and if he plays as he has done the past few weeks, the Red Bulls may have enough to win the first-leg.
On the other side New England Revolution have a midfield maestro of their own in Lee Nguyen. The 28-year-old has had the best season of his career and leads the Revs in goals with 20, including the two in the playoffs so far.
Without Nguyen, it’s difficult to see how New England would have made it into the playoffs. Jermaine Jones’ arrival sparked the team into life but its the playmaker who has been the start this year.
The battle between Henry and Nguyen should go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game, as if either player can pull the strings on Sunday, they should guide their team to victory.
Nguyen has scored an impressive 20 goals so far and is more of a goal threat than Henry because of his more central position.
Henry tends to play out on the left now for the Red Bulls so his goal return of 10 so far is still impressive, and the Frenchman has made 10 more goals for teammates than the Revs man has managed. With Bradley Wright-Phillips the one who has benefitted most from Henry’s presence this year.
The pair are both so influential for their sides and that is shown by their individual influence to the total team goals this season. Henry has contributed to 24 of New York’s 60 goals in 2014 (40%). Whereas Nguyen has contributed to the same number of goals (24) of New England’s 58 this year (41%).
The two have enjoyed very similar campaigns in terms of goal contribution and will need to be at their best once more to help their side’s try and get the advantage in the first-leg showdown at Red Bull arena.
Who will make the difference on Sunday – Henry or Nguyen?