Wow. What a sporting night. Not every night brings us a historic accomplishment 17 years in the making, but that's exactly what we got in New Jersey last night. I'm talking, of course, about the New York Red Bulls clinching the MLS Supporters' Shield.
The Supporters' Shield, given to the team with the best regular season, is the first trophy for the franchise formerly known as the MetroStars, and it's a trophy that the franchise has been trying to get for a very long time. As the New York representative of the newly created American league, the early MetroStars' made a habit out of recruiting a number of high-profile European stars to America. Unfortunately, the players they recruited were often high-profile in name alone, aged former stars who came to America to finish their careers as over-the-hill mercenaries.
With Thierry Henry, the Red Bulls finally struck upon a former great who still had enough in the tank to do some damage in his autumn years. Henry was coupled with a few other effective signings, and the improved team brought the franchise its first Shield with a 5-2 win over the Chicago Fire last night.
While the Supporters' Shield is a nice accomplishment for a trophy-starved fanbase (they have fans, right?), nobody will be content with just that. The playoffs start soon, and it will be there that the Red Bulls will determine if their season is a success or not. If history is any guide, the Red Bulls shouldn't feel too confident. Only 6 of the 17 Supporters' Shield winners have gone on to raise the MLS Cup. Not that I had to tell you that.