Return of the MLS: “It is the unknown,” admits Thierry Henry

Retour de la MLS: «C’est l’inconnu», avoue Thierry Henry

The head coach Thierry Henry has admitted from the outset on Tuesday that the Impact will launch a little bit into the unknown when the team will leave Montreal to Orlando on Thursday for the tournament to resume The MLS is back.

With yet a lot of tournament experience during his career – he was part of the French selection sacred champion of the world Cup in 1998 and Euro in 2000, in particular, he indicated that the circumstances of the upcoming competition were totally new.

Indeed, the season of the Major League Soccer (MLS) will resume after more than three months of shutdown due to the pandemic of COVID-19, and the teams, there will be no friendly match to regain their bearings.

“This kind of experience, I have not often experienced [because of] the way in which we find ourselves in this tournament because of the COVID-19. In general, before you go into a tournament, you have a time of preparation and friendly matches, and there, it was not for the reasons that we know,” said Henry during a videoconference.

“So, this is not easy to start a tournament with your first game [of the group stage]. In general, you’re trying a lot of things, tactics and combinations, and there, in the present case, this is the first time in my life I find myself in a situation like this. It is the unknown.”


Florida has announced 18 000 new cases of the disease on its territory at the last end of the week. Henry, however, preferred not to comment on this upsurge of cases. He indicated that he was focused on his role as a coach.

“As I said from the beginning, we will adapt to the league. The tournament will take place there, and the league has taken the necessary precautions. For the moment, the players are good. We’ll see how it goes. But we, we are in the process of preparing to play a tournament, regardless of the conditions. The team is ready to go and fight to defend the colors of the club.”

“After that, there are things that will pass away, there will be debates, but we, we are here to prepare, and the team, for the time being, is well,” added the 42-year-old, who has, nevertheless, indicated that some members of his family and friends had been positive to the COVID-19.


Thus, the tournament will begin on 8 July. The next day, the home side will play a first match against the Revolution in New-England, before the face of Toronto FC and D. C. United, respectively, on 15 and 21 July.

Since he took the reins of the Impact, Henry has directed that the five parties. It has not yet had the opportunity to face Toronto FC, the biggest rival of the Blue-White-Black.

“We all know how this party is special, he conceded. This will be a first for me. I can understand the rivalries. I talked to Patrice Bernier, and a few people who have told me how it is [a rivalry] important to them.”

Some 16 meetings of the group stage, including three of the Impact, will be broadcast on TVA Sports.

A schema tactic to determine

At the beginning of the season of Major League Soccer (MLS), the decision of Thierry Henry to use five defenders instead of four has been paying off for the Montreal Impact, which has not suffered the defeat in two parts.

The Blue-White-Black is also able to defeat Deportivo Saprissa during the round of 16 of the champions League of CONCACAF with this schema. But when the CD Olimpia took the advance in the course of the match go of the quarter-final, the driver is returned to a strategy to the back four, which has enabled his own to reduce the gap.

So, for now, and with the little time he had to prepare his team, the instructor said he was unable to determine the tactic he favours in Orlando.

“It was difficult compared to the public health – we know that there has been the phase 1, phase 2 and phase 3, so that as soon as one has been able to return in phase 3 with the contacts during the games, we started working the tactic”, he explained during a video conference on Tuesday. “We worked a little bit on what we did against Olimpia, on what has been done before. Therefore, it is not yet clear, but it has worked on both. We don’t know yet how we’re going to start there.”

“When we passed in five [defenders], it was good. There has been no problems. The players know very well what they have to do. After, is what we are going to play four or five? Well, we’ll see.”

Who will play?

When the team steps into the plane Thursday afternoon, Henry hoped that all available players will be on the trip. The conditions in Orlando is likely to be difficult in Florida, and the club will play three games in 12 days.

So, the French intend to take advantage of the depth within the club. Since the teams will have to quickly return to action with important parts, the MLS has also changed a bit the rules, so that the instructor will be entitled to five changes per game. A novelty that he welcomes with joy.

“I hope that the players want to play all the time, whether in tournament or not. But there are only 11 spots on the field and it’s going to be a lot of changes. It’s going to be hot and there will be moisture. Maybe the team will start the second game will not be the same for the first or the third.”

“There are players who will be required to play three games, others not. Up to us to make the right choices and see how it will happen also at physical level. But yes, there is competition and we recovered our wounded, too,” he added.

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