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New York Red Bulls belong to Tim Cahill, not Thierry Henry

Oct 3, 2013, 5:30 PM EDT

Tim Cahill AP

SEATTLE — Thierry Henry might lead the New York Red Bulls in goals and assists, but in Sunday’s 1-1 tie with Seattle Sounders FC, Tim Cahill once again showed the leadership qualities that make him the heart of the team.

While Henry and center back Jámison Olave stayed at home, unwilling to play on artificial turf, Cahill gutted out the comeback with his team, scoring a late equalizer in the pouring rain and gusting wind, to keep New York on top of the Major League Soccer Supporters’ Shield standings.

(MORE: Late Cahill equalizer gives New York result in Seattle)

“Before the game, I told my players, and the manager said to the players, to have no fear,” Cahill said after the game. “I’m proud of the boys and what we achieved tonight. We were unlucky not to get the three points.”

While Henry remains very much the loner, Cahill’s team-first mentality has shown all season. The 33-year-old World Cup veteran with Australia is second behind Henry in goals and game-winning goals, and his fire and passion stand in contrast to the normally stoic Frenchman.

Even after scoring the game-tying goal in front of 39,083 fans at CenturyLink Field, Cahill quickly deflected the recognition.

“It’s pretty special, but not for me — for my team,” he said. “This is what it means to be a team. This is the feeling you should have after every game: a feeling of reward. I’m proud of the boys.”

His coach was more willing to heap on the praise.

“Tim never ceases to amaze me, with his work rate, with his attitude, with his rallying the troops,” first-year head coach Mike Petke said. “It’s just another game for Tim in a long string of games this year like this.”

As a midseason Designated Player signing in 2012, Cahill barely had a chance to get to know his teammates before they were thrown into their first playoff series together. When Kenny Cooper missed a penalty kick in the game against D.C. United that ended in New York’s elimination, Cahill — who had been playing with a partially torn calf for weeks — stepped between the media pack and a visibly shattered Cooper in the locker room.

“I don’t want him to talk,” Cahill said, taking the interview instead. “Who wants to talk after that? We’re a team. We look after each other, and this is why I’m here.”

  1. hildezero - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:33 PM

    Cahill is one of the best players in NYRB and seems like a great leader, but to say it’s Cahill’s team, not Henry’s, is wrong.

    • braxtonrob - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:04 PM

      Actions speak louder than words (which in Henry’s case, aren’t even that great).

      It’s Cahill’s team … obviously.

    • notaretard - Oct 4, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      “Cahill is one of the best players in NYRB and seems like a great leader, but to say it’s Cahill’s team, not Henry’s, is wrong.”

      why? whose team it is has nothing to do with who’s the better player. it has to do with which one of them steps up and is a leader, and that’s clearly cahill, therefore, it’s his team, even if henry is the better player. look at man u. for years, giggs, neville, and scholes weren’t the best players out on the field, but they led by example and, as such, it was their team, even if ronaldo and rooney were more talented. it’s cahill’s team, hands down

  2. mdac1012 - Oct 4, 2013 at 12:50 AM

    I think Mike Petke’s benching of Henry earlier in the year showed that this is Petke’s team. The team has taken on Petke’s personality, blue collar, workman like and gritty which also reflect Cahill as a player. I think it’s also the reason that guys like McCarty and Johnny Steele and Alexander have responded so well this season. Under Backe the team often looked soft and as confused on the pitch as Hans looked on the touch line.

    I have posted before that Cahill was the heart of the team but Henry is still the star. Grittiness and emotion will only get you so far. Ultimately, for the Red Bulls to go on a run, Henry is going to have to score goals and Petke is going to have to find a way to get Henry the service he needs to do just that.

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