Thierry Henry is on a major tear with five goals in his last five games, but he won’t get the chance to keep it going.
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Henry is out with a swollen right knee as the New York Red Bulls hit the road to complete the season series with the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.
The French superstar injured himself while scoring the game’s first goal in a 3-2 home loss to Chivas USA on Sunday. He returned to training Thursday, but pulled himself out after 30 minutes and did not make the trip.
Henry came up empty on all six shots in a 1-all draw with Houston on April 2 at home. That marked No. 1 goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul’s season debut, and he allowed the tying goal to Cam Weaver in the 50th minute.
Dane Richards had put New York (4-2-3) ahead three minutes earlier. Richards has tormented Houston, most notably when he had a goal and an assist in a 3-0 road win in the second leg of a 2008 playoff series. The Red Bulls went on to reach the MLS Cup for the first time that year.
Richards has not scored in six matches since the first meeting with Houston (3-3-4).
"Fans expect goals, but I supply the crosses, I make the runs," Richards told the Red Bulls’ official website. "I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and not change anything. I wouldn’t say I’m happy, but the offense has played well, done some good things."
The first matchup also marked the New York debut of Dwayne De Rosario, who entered as a substitute after he was acquired from Toronto FC the day before the game. While Houston fans won’t be happy to see Richards, De Rosario is revered by them for helping lead the Dynamo to MLS Cup titles in 2006 and ’07.
"Houston wasn’t really too much of a soccer city but we put it on the map," De Rosario told the Dynamo’s official website. "Football was big there and after our first successful year we put (soccer) on the map. The organization has really done a lot to make strides there and it’s great to see soccer really developing there."
There’s a logjam at the top of the Eastern Conference, with New York in first place with 15 points and Houston in a three-way tie for third with 13. The Dynamo are winless in three games this month, although they avoided a third straight loss with a scoreless road tie against Real Salt Lake last Saturday.
Top goal scorers Will Bruin and Weaver have come up empty during the winless stretch.
New York had a four-game unbeaten run snapped last weekend, allowing more than one goal in a game for the first time. Houston is wary of how the Red Bulls will respond, even with Henry unavailable.
"We know what happened on the weekend, and New York is going to look to correct what went wrong last time, so it’ll be a challenge," coach Dominic Kinnear said.