Battle of World Cup winners
Central defender Alessandro Nesta made his Impact debut versus Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday, in an international matchup, playing the game’s first 63 minutes. He looked good despite playing in his first competitive game since the Serie A season ended in May.
The possibility of a Nesta versus Henry battle tonight could be one for the ages as this will mark a matchup between World Cup winners; the only two active players in MLS to have won the FIFA World Cup. Germany’s Lothar Matthäus and France’s Youri Djorkaeff are the only others to ever achieve the feat and then play in MLS.
Henry scored three goals in the Red Bulls’ 5-2 thrashing of the Impact on March 31. He has 10 goals this season in just 14 games, and has returned to form in recent weeks following a lengthy injury.
“Henry is a great player. He is very strong,” said Nesta. “I’ve played against him before and he’s difficult to mark. If I get to play against him on Saturday night, I’m hoping for a great game.”
And while Henry has been tearing up the MLS in recent years, Nesta’s standout performance in the 2011-2012 Champions League received worldwide acclaim. In particular, the last group stage game where he frustrated the likes of Lionel Messi and the rest of Barcelona’s dangerous lineup in a 2-2 draw was a defensive clinic.
The Impact is hoping Nesta’s experience will slow Henry down, and turn the tides in the Impact’s favour for the third and final meeting between these two clubs this season.