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Backe: Henry and Marquez will step up
The Star-Ledger, October 25th, 2011 2:57PM



Red Bulls coach Hans Backe believes Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, the team's high-priced designated players, will play up to their marquee names in the playoffs, which start for the Red Bulls on Wednesday when they face FC Dallas in a wild-card game to reach the final eight.

“We know that a player like Thierry, when he can sniff playoffs, they will get more and more mentally into the game,” Backe told Frank Giase. “These guys with that kind of experience, the playoffs is the key thing. They love to play games that mean something. And I’m quite sure we will see Thierry and Rafa lift their game.”

But despite being a fan of American sports, Henry, who played his entire career in Europe before joining MLS midway through the 2010 season, doesn’t believe in playoffs deciding a soccer champion.

“I will never get used to it,” he said. “In Europe, L.A. (Galaxy, 67 points) would have been champion, and rightly so. You play 34 games, you fight all season, that’s the way it is, and a team should be champion after that. But the rules are different here, so you’ve got to add that to it and play the games."

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