July 16, 2010 - 06182042 date 16 07 2010 Copyright imago BPI New York Red Bulls Thierry Henry 14 warm Up AT The Start of A New York Red Bulls Practice ON The Campus of State University in Upper NJ PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men USA MLS Training Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd Football.

Remember the summer of 2007? MLS had finally signed a big time player, and though David Beckham was clearly past his prime, he brought real star power to the league for the first time. We didn't know yet that Beckham's first year and a half would border on disaster, that Beckham would be looking for ways out of LA in subsequent winters, or that the vaunted "Beckham Effect" would fade so quickly. Amidst talk that he was just here to increase his star everywhere but the field, Beckham landed on American shores to pied-piper the masses toward the beautiful game.

Except he was injured when he got here, and when he did debut, it was in a meaningless friendly on a still-gimpy ankle. Ill-advised to say the least, it was clear at the time that the Galaxy (with Frank Yallop only a puppet) pushed Beckham onto the field for the cameras and the crowd. From a playing perspective, almost everything that could have gone wrong, did.

Tonight, the biggest name to cross the Atlantic since Beckham will make his own debut in an MLS shirt. Thierry Henry will face his old Arsenal rivals Tottenham at Red Bull Arena, and indications are that the Frenchman's debut will go off without a hitch (barring an injury - let's hope I'm not a jinx). Beckham's arrival was big news followed by injuries problems and disappointing play; Henry's, even if his play is mildly disappointing, can't possibly be anything but a thousand times better.

I'm not big on these friendlies during the season, but I am looking forward to seeing what should be a mostly-full stadium respond to Henry. I'm not sure how much we should expect out of him in terms of quality play, but the moment should be excellent.

Make no mistake: There's a sideshow element to Henry's arrival, just as there was for Beckham. But there's also a sense that the league has grown up a lot over the course of the last three years, and Henry being here is a different kettle of fish. The hype isn't there for Henry the way it was for Beckham, but for most of us that's a good thing.

If you want to watch the game tonight, it will be on FSC and streamed through Veetle for free. Veetle requires that you download a plugin, but the picture is excellent. The site will also have the other games in the "tournament."

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