NEW YORK – His fellow designated player, Thierry Henry, may say that this weekend’s US clásico between the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls is nothing but three points during the regular season. However, for NYRB Mexican defender Rafael Márquez, there is something special about the match-up.
“It’s a game that’s different from the others because these are the two teams that have invested more money and they’re in first place of the their conference,” Márquez said in a Wednesday media teleconference call. “They [LA and NY] have some of the most important players [in the league] on these two teams and this makes this game more important."
“It’s a different game, but we will try to keep the mentality going of winning any game, even if it’s different from the rest. We’ll try to go looking for the three points.”
It’s a statement few MLS teams make when they’re heading into The Home Depot Center to face the 2010 Supporters’ Shield winners. But this is a Red Bulls side that has slowly built confidence over the course of the first seven matches of the season and stands atop the Eastern Conference with 14 points and only two goals given up.
“We’re trying to play the same way we are playing at the moment,” Henry said. “The press were having a go at us because we didn’t win at home [vs. Houston, 1-1] and we went to Philadelphia and we lost [1-0]. I don’t think we should have drawn the game against Houston and that we should have lost against Philadelphia.
“The only difference in the last few games is that we put the ball in the back of the net and it makes a difference when you score in the game. The way we play didn’t change.”
The Frenchman refused to address media questions about how close he was to reaching his top form but Márquez volunteered that Henry was experiencing “his best moment since he’s been here,” citing the absence of physical issues.
Henry didn’t want to get into speaking about personal battles with the Galaxy’s David Beckham and Márquez did the same when it came to dodging the questions from Spanish-language press about a personal rivalry with LA’s Landon Donovan from their confrontations on the international level.
Both NYRB designated players have been around the block and back. When it comes to public commentary, they’re only interested in T-E-A-M.
“Right now we kind of have an identity and a way of playing and the way we want to play right from the start,” Henry said. “That’s important. We’re kind of trying to build it right now with this team. We’re not there yet.”
“We can do a lot of damage to them [LA],” Márquez said.“We can have a big game there and get the three points.”
Hear more on the rivalry from former New York player and current Galaxy striker, Juan Pablo Angel in this week's Galaxy All-Access Podcast.