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Bradley Wright-Phillips Continues to do the Business for New York Red Bulls

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Chris Wondolowski and Roy Lassiter hold the joint record for the top scorer in a MLS season with 27 goals. Now Bradley Wright-Phillips has joined them after last night’s emphatic 2-0 away win against Sporting KC. In a season where the focus has been mainly on the futures of Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry, Wright-Phillips has stolen the show and almost single-handedly propelled the Red Bulls back into the playoffs. This season deserves some context.

He signed last July after being released by Charlton, and there wasn’t much fanfare. It helped out the Red Bulls when they lacked goals from their strikers, but Andy Roxburgh probably didn’t expect what became of him in 2014. He did score a goal in the return leg of the Red Bulls playoff series against Houston last year, but it came in defeat. There were absolutely no signs that he’d challenge for a record that seemed almost untouchable.

This season didn’t even start off well, as he only scored a consolation goal in a 4-1 rout in Vancouver. But once he bagged his first hat-trick against the Dynamo, the goals never stopped coming, and soon it wasn’t Henry or Cahill that became the focus of Mike Petke’s attack, it was Bradley Wright-Phillips.

He’s had 3 hat-tricks this season, becoming the first to do so since Diego Serna in 2000. He’s scored goals of almost every variety too, coming from the penalty spot, great combinations with Thierry Henry, and even individual efforts that dazzled the eyes of MLS viewers through the season. He scored in almost every game too, something that is the true-mark of an in-form striker, which the Red Bulls needed with the conspicuous absences of Henry and Cahill for various reasons this season.

Even during the MLS All-Star game, a glorified scrimmage in its own right, he still scored a goal of supreme individual quality that made many take notice. It’s been that kind of season for Wright-Phillips, and it should stand out as one of the best in MLS history.

Trouble is, when it comes to the MVP conversation, he’s got some exalted company to battle it out with. Robbie Keane has had another typically outstanding season of goals and assists for the Galaxy. Obafemi Martins has done the same with the Sounders and formed an integral partnership with Clint Dempsey to help Seattle win 2 trophies already this season. Dom Dwyer has continued his good form from last season to lead Sporting KC to the playoffs. Lee Nguyen has emerged as one of the league’s deadliest midfielders, and helped the Revolution grab the East’s second seed. Any one of those players would be a great choice to win the league’s highest honor, and yet…

Wright-Phillips has done the single most important thing you can do on the pitch: score goals. And he’s done it consistently and in important matches too. When the Red Bulls have needed big goals, he’s often the one to score them. Without him, the Red Bulls are nowhere near the 4th place that they finished this season in the Eastern Conference. To think that his season got international scouts sniffing around a possible transfer as well is a testament to his season.

It’s always somewhat unexpected when the all-time goal scoring mark is challenged in any league, but Wright-Phillips has done so all the way to leading the Red Bulls with a remarkable season. He deserves to be the MVP for the remarkable season he’s had.

Even if he doesn’t win it, the fact that he hasn’t when tying a long-held record shows how good MLS has become and how much more quality the league has. Everyone wins.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. GallipolisVC

    October 27, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    I bet he will get some looks from european clubs come January.

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