HARRISON, N.J. - It wasn't the first time Thierry Henry, winding up with a right boot on a corner kick, was the focal point for a sea of mostly Arsenal supporters.
He played with the English Premier League club for eight years, and still owns the team's scoring record with 228 goals.
It was, however, the first time the Red Bulls captain played host to the Gunners, who hadn't made a trip to the U.S. in 25 years.
Henry crossed the ball into the box, where it was headed by Ibrahim Sekagya to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who scored the game's only goal in the 32nd minute as the Red Bulls beat Arsenal, 1-0, in the friendly New York Cup at Red Bull Arena Saturday night.
"Thierry can be dangerous from everywhere," said Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, Henry's longtime mentor. "He understands very quickly what he can take advantage from. He was sharp today as well in the 1-against-1. When he played in midfield, his passing was excellent and his vision as well. You could see that display everywhere."
Henry had one shot on goal and one assist in 54 minutes of play. The 36-year-old forward spoke about his deep bond with Arsenal at a news conference on Thursday, but had a more businesslike outlook on game day.
"It was more important for me that [younger players like] Andre Akpan and Ruben Bover could play against Arsenal," Henry said. "That was where my mind was at."
Henry acknowledged the support shown for him by fans and the Red Bulls. The team flew a banner of Henry, portraying him with fists raised in celebration, wearing a half-and-half Red Bulls/Arsenal jersey. It read "Gunner. Red Bull. Legend."
"It was pretty cool, I'll be honest," Henry said.
Arsenal had chances to equalize throughout the match, but they were unable to beat Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Red Bulls coach Mike Petke took note of the large amount of Arsenal fans, many supporting Henry, and said it felt like an away game. He praised his team's ability, especially in the first half where Henry was a big contributor the attack.
"Thierry is Thierry," Petke said. "He opens up so much space for everybody. You're playing against younger players, big-time Arsenal players, and his first step is bringing him ahead of them. He still has it.
"His vision? Unbelievable. His ability to create space and get open, all the things that are no secret. He's one of the best players to ever play and he still has it."