Thierry Henry vs. Bruce Arena: Football legends meet Thursday evening at MLS is Back tournament


The English language doesn’t quite have the right words to describe how very different the careers of Thierry Henry and Bruce Arena have been.One spent two years at community college playing soccer and lacrosse before going to Cornell University, intending to pursue only his lacrosse career. But injuries from several goalkeepers caused the men’s soccer coach to turn to the lacrosse team for a replacement and he continued to play. This career culminated in a single national team cap. The other … well, the other is Thierry Henry. You know who he is and how this career has gone.

Their coaching careers have not been similar either. Benefit Bruce.

The legendary American boss is one of the most distinguished football coaches in the history of sport on this continent. The accomplishments speak for themselves and this is the kind of resume that Henry hopes to build.

His first foray into club management did not go as planned – dropping AS Monaco after a few months in charge before being hired by the Montreal Impact this winter. Henry made his MLS coaching debut against Arena and his New England Revolution on February 29. It was four months ago, but four years ago.

The first round was won by Henry, while the Impact created a 2-1 comeback victory. The bell rings for the second round tonight (8 pm ET | TUDN in the United States; TSN, TVAS in Canada) in Group C of the MLS is Back Tournament.

“I don’t know if we can surprise them again,” Henry told reporters during a conference call this week. He surprisingly doubled his lineup of five defensemen after playing all of the pre-season friendlies with four defenders.

Arena competition.

“I think we can throw this game out the window, this game is going to be completely different,” he said. “… We know their composition from our previous match, they know us. I don’t think there will be any secrets. ”

There may not be many secrets, but there will be more than a few differences.

Obviously, the place is very different. July in Orlando is probably the reverse of February in Montreal, although the two offer their own problems. Instead of the snowstorm and Revs endured to start the season, the two teams will face the heat and humidity in a neutral location without fans. All this after a four-month break between competitive games, of course.

The pieces that Henry and Arena can use have changed slightly. Arena did not get Carles Gil, newcomer of the year in MLS 2019, due to an injury, while Henry had no new named player, Victor Wanyama. Alex Buttner has not yet made his debut for the Revs while Lassi Lappalainen and Bojan have each played only once for the Impact to start the MLS season.

“As I said when we faced them for the first time, Bruce Arena is an experienced coach, players like (Gustavo) Bou and Gil can make a difference at any time,” said Henry. “They also have experienced players. The feeling is that the season is starting again and we will face this team again. ”

Again, Arena agrees.

“It will be difficult,” he said succinctly.


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