MLS Golden Boot leader Wright-Phillips exceeding expectations in breakout season

Bradley Wright-Phillips

By RYAN TOLMICH

Prior to his current breakout campaign, New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips had developed a fairly consistent routine when it came to dealing with postgame questioning from the ever-present New York media.

“If it goes in, you guys talk to me,” Wright-Phillips told reporters Sunday after scoring in the Red Bulls 4-1 thrashing of the Columbus Crew. “If I don’t, I get showered, dried and go home.”

However, as one of the 2014 season’s breakout stars, the 29-year-old forward is getting more and more post-shower attention for his goal-scoring exploits.

The London-born Wright-Phillips is enjoying a breakout second season with the Red Bulls, leading MLS with 15 goals in the team’s first 18 games. While Wright-Phillips has enjoyed similar goal-scoring streaks in the past, such as a 22-goal campaign in 2011-12 with League One side Charlton Athletic, the Red Bulls forward has proven to be even better than expected for Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke.

“Perhaps he has exceeded some expectations,” Petke said. “We knew where he came from. We knew a bit about him, and we were hoping we could get some goals from him and he’s really on a great tear.”

Petke went on to praise Wright-Phillips’ chemistry with star striker Thierry Henry, mentioning the previous struggles of former Red Bulls in linking up with the former Arsenal star.

“There’s a price to pay when playing with Thierry Henry up front,” Petke said. “He likes to go all over the place and we want him to. Fabian (Espindola) last year, the lone striker up there, and (Kenny) Cooper the year before; it’s not easy, and they have developed such a great relationship those two. There’s trust there.”

“Bradley is our go-to-guy,” echoed Henry, who currently leads the league in assists with 9. “We all have to play for him.”

Wright-Phillips’ goal-scoring explosion sees him approaching new ground for the club, as no Red Bull has ever scored 20 goals in a single season. With the Red Bulls still having roughly half-a-season remaining, 20 looks to be a highly-attainable milestone for the red-hot Wright-Phillips.

“It would be great because he earned it and it would help us as a team,” said Petke, who played with current Red Bulls record holder Juan Pablo Angel. “You talk about strikers being streaky and his streak is just continuing. He got hot when he scored his first goal this year and he just wouldn’t let up. He’s a true striker because he has that nose for goal and I’m very glad that we have him.”

However, Wright-Phillips is far from worried about goal-scoring records, although the 29-year-old admitted that he would be flattered to etch his name in the club’s record books.

“If it happens, it happens,” Wright-Phillips said. “There’s a first time for everything. I hope it can be me. If it’s not, there’ll be another time.”

For now, Wright-Phillips has other things to worry about: a slew of upcoming Red Bull games, a potential MLS All-Star Game appearance and perhaps another run to shower and dry off in time to talk to the media about his next goal.

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20 Responses to MLS Golden Boot leader Wright-Phillips exceeding expectations in breakout season

  1. Scott A says:

    Best Bradley in MLS ;)

  2. JasonRBNY says:

    If loving Bradley Wright-Phillips is wrong, I don’t want to be Wright

  3. MMV says:

    I expected BWP would bang in a respectable 10-12 goals based his past exploits in England but I had no idea this was coming! The dude is red hot. It’s a Wondo-esque streak (from 2 yrs, ago) where you search for NYRB box scores just to see if he’s scored and how many times. BWP has been sensational. With that said, Henry has been just as impressive. They way he’s serving up passes, I think I could bag 6-7 goals. He’s serving them up on a platter.

    • TomG says:

      He’s been tremendous, no question, but you do have to figure in the Henry bump.

      • Andrew says:

        The “Henry bump” only accounts for 6 of his goals, and two of those are secondary assists.

  4. ELAC says:

    Don’t give him the golden boot yet. Cubo is coming and he’s taking no prisoners!

  5. Brain Guy says:

    I especially love watching BWP because for some reason — his body type? his proportions? – he looks like a little kid running around out there and scoring great goals.

  6. The Imperative Voice says:

    Tangentially related fact, Luke Rodgers currently plays for Forest Green of the Conference Premier.

  7. 323923s says:

    he was on a goal scoring run in the Championship and now in MLS? does this mean finally that MLS is on level with the 2nd division England or Germany?

    before it was on level with League 1, but surely it has improved

    • David M says:

      Actually, Charlton was not in the Championship but in League One in 2011-2012. The next season, when Charlton was playing in the Championship, Wright-Phillips scored just one goal and was released at the end of the season.

      • Andrew says:

        To be fair to Wright-Phillips, he hasn’t had anyone in his entire career on his team to pass him the ball like New York has. I’ve gone back to look at the rosters, trust me. Lloyd Sam is a better passer than any teammate he’s had in the past.

        Also, Little known fact I also discovered from that search…Richard Eckersley and Kenny Cooper both played on Plymouth Argyle with BWP in the 2008-09 Championship team managed by Paul Mariner. Interesting connections, aye?

  8. Max says:

    Uhhh. Didn’t he rob a pub in England? I’m also pretty sure he tag team beat up a supporter in the street 2 on 1 style. Good footballer, questionable human. I hope he doesn’t win the golden boot.

  9. Timber Danny says:

    It’s the “Henry Bump” at it’s best.

    That isn’t to say BWP isn’t a very good, capable scorer. I would love him in green and gold, but he benefits from playing with one of the greatest soccer players ever in Thierry Henry. It’s like Kenny Cooper. That S.O.B. can’t score a goal to save his life unless (1) he lines up next to Henry or (2) he’s playing AGAINST the Timbers.

    BWP give a big tip of the hat to the reason you have that many goals… Thierry Henry.

    • nato says:

      honestly i forget Henry is still in MLS. he’s spent more time in NY than he did at Barca

    • Andrew says:

      BWP
      -9 goals that WERE NOT assisted by Henry
      -2 goals that were only secondarily assisted by Henry
      -4 goals directly assisted by Henry.

      Do the math. Henry doesn’t play as big of a part in his goals as people think. Sam(4 times), Alexander(4 times), Miller(twice), McCarty, Oyongo, Miazga, Cahill, Kimura, Luyindula, and Steele have all picked up assists on his goals.

  10. SBI TroII says:

    England could have used him in the World Cup.