Welcome to New York, Wayne Rooney
You can say one thing about Red Bulls fans, they’re consistent.
Almost exactly 11 years after booing David Beckham in the epic 5-4 victory over the LA Galaxy in front of 66,237 at Giants Stadium, the Red Bulls’ faithful gave Wayne Rooney the same treatment Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.
It started in the pregame with an epic tifo unfurled in the South Ward and continued with booing every time he went to take a corner.
— Joe Goldstein (@_JoeGoldstein) August 26, 2018
The return of Henry
One of the loudest ovations of the night came when Thierry Henry was shown on the video boards before the game. The legend, who played his final four-and-a-half years of his career, for the Red Bulls, is reportedly in town to talk to Bordeaux owners about becoming the club’s next coach.
Henry was also the center of attention after the game, first meeting with Rooney outside the tunnel and receiving the forward’s jersey and then greeting former teammates in the Red Bulls locker room.
Henry took pictures with several Red Bulls players in the locker room and, in a bizarre scene, chatted there with D.C. United coach Ben Olsen and U.S. men’s national team assistant coach Richie Williams, who was an assistant with the Red Bulls when Henry played for the club.
“It’s amazing,” Bradley Wright-Phillips said of seeing Henry again. “I wanted to get a goal as I knew he was here. I think I was thinking about it too much and I missed a flipping sitter late in the game, but it’s good to see him. It’s good for the guys to get to meet him because he’s so knowledgable with the game and he’s such a nice guy.”
And Henry even had a message for BWP after the match.
“He told me to tell [the media] about the miss,” Wright-Phillips said. “Titi doesn’t change, honest man.
A star-studded night
Henry wasn’t the only former player in Red Bull Arena who made his mark on the oldest rivalry in MLS.
Jeff Agoos, a Hall of Fame defender who played for both teams, took in the match from the press box, while former D.C. United forward Alecko Eskandarian, as well as Williams, were also among those in attendance.
“It speaks to the rivalry, speaks to the importance of the game,” Luis Robles said. “Even though we have this organic rivalry growing with the New York teams, this is historic, the original rivalry in MLS. … You can understand why those people decide to come to this game, because they know the importance of the Atlantic Cup.”