[BARCLAYS NEW YORK CHALLENGE] When David Beckham made his debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy three years ago, he didn't take public transportation to the Home Depot Center.
But that's what Thierry Henry did on Thursday afternoon in the most-anticipated debut match for an MLS player since Beckham's first game, and he loved it.
And then there was Henry's debut itself, a dream start that began when he scored after only 25 minutes in the New York Red Bulls' game against Tottenham in the Barclays New York Challenge opener.
Henry was stopped by Spurs goalie Carlo Cudicini early in the game from close range, but Cudicini could later do nothing to stop the Frenchman from tapping in Joel Lindpere's pass.
Henry departed at halftime, and Tottenham rallied on second-half goals by Robbie Keane and Gareth Bale to beat the MLS club, 2-1.
Henry, who played sparingly in the last part of the Spanish season for Barcelona and at the World Cup for France, said he was about two weeks away from being fully fit, but he was happy with his first game and the reception he's received in New York.
"It was amazing to see the fans and walk with them to the stadium," Henry said. "Just amazing. I'd say the reception was tremendous -- every time I touched the ball, when I came out and when I scored."
Walk with them to the stadium?
Henry took the underground PATH train from his hotel in Manhattan -- he hopes to settle in lower Manhattan, just like another former Red Bull player, his former France teammate Youri Djorkaeff, has done -- to New Jersey.
"It was the quickest way to come to the game," Henry said. "I was on the train with my friends, with all the fans. It was quite an experience. It was the quickest way to come, so that's how I came. It was cool."
The day's only disappointment was at the gate. An announced crowd of 20,312 left Red Bull Arena about 20 percent empty for the French star's debut.
Barclays New York Challenge
July 22 in Harrison, N.J.
New York Red Bulls 1 Tottenham 2.
NY: Henry (Lindpere) 25
TOT: Keane (unassisted) 62
TOT: Bale (unassisted 72
New York -- Coundoul (Sutton 46), Miller, Ream, Mendes (Petke 46), Albright (Hall 64), Robinson (Ubiparipovic 63), Lindpere, Stammler (Chinn 77), Richards, Kandji, Henry (Tchani 46)
Tottenham -- Cudicini, Hutton, Bale, Naughton, Corluka (Taarabt 46), Walker (Townsend 46), Huddlestone, Jenas, Modric (Mason 76), Kranjcar (Rose 70), Keane.
Referee: Chris Penso.