Pretty soon, Major League Soccer will have to at least consider naming it the "Thierry Henry: Class is Permanent" award.
MLS has announced via the league's official website that Henry was named the league Player of the Week for Week 5 of the 2012 campaign. With this award, Henry becomes the first player in league history to earn three consecutive Player of the Week honors. According to the MLS website story, Henry received 19 first-choice votes for the Week 5 award. Kenny Cooper, Henry's teammate up top, earned three votes. Ryan Smith of Chivas USA received four votes, Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes received two votes, and Kei Kamara of Sporting KC earned a single vote.
Henry wasted little time getting to work during Saturday's Columbus Crew vs. RBNY match. The New York captain connected with Cooper inside the Columbus penalty area in the third minute of play, and Cooper did well to hold off a defender and slot home the game's opening tally. Henry then gave the Red Bulls a 3-0 lead five minutes before the halftime break. Roy Miller played Henry into the left portion of the penalty area, leaving the captain one-on-one with goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. Poor Gruenebaum didn't have a chance, as Henry turned his right foot and tapped a shot into the far corner of the net. Henry finished his day by silencing the Columbus crowd that was celebrating a goal scored in the 89th minute, as the New York forward buried a volley 50 seconds before stoppage time. Henry, still visibly upset that his team couldn't hold the shutout, didn't celebrate the goal one bit before walking back toward midfield.
Henry has unquestionably been the best player in Major League Soccer over the past three weeks. He netted seven goals in games against Columbus, the Montreal Impact and Colorado Rapids. Henry also picked up one assist in each of those three games. Henry currently leads the league in goals (the previously mentioned Cooper and Wondolowski are one goal behind Henry), and he only trails Graham Zusi by one in the assists column.
Some have argued since the Monday announcement that Cooper, not Henry, was the league's best overall play this past weekend. While Cooper gave New York a 2-0 lead 13 minutes into the game, Henry does deserve credit for setting up the first goal of the contest. The captain then put the Crew away in the 40th minute, and Henry also completely deflated the hosts with one final strike that eliminated the memory of the Chad Marshall goal. Cooper was very good in the win. Henry was just a little bit better.
Henry continues to play 90 minutes in games, and he continues to play better than he ever has since joining the Red Bulls. He's averaging over one goal per half of play during New York's current run. At this rate, it will be big news the next time Henry doesn't win Player of the Week. San Jose should prove to be a big test for the Red Bulls this coming weekend. I said it last week and I'll say it again here: Right now, there's no way I'm betting against Henry taking home another POTW award one week from today.
- Thierry Henry