By IVES GALARCEP
When the 2014 season began, the New York Red Bulls were well aware they needed someone to step up and take some of the scoring burden off French star Thierry Henry. Little did they know that a player on their roster was capable of a monster season that could trump every other player in the league.
Bradley Wright-Phillips has stepped up in a stunning way, delivering 18 goals before the All-Star break to help the Red Bulls avoid falling out of the playoff picture. The result has been a half-season worthy of SBI’s Mid-Season MVP honors as the top player in the league through the first half of the 2014 campaign.
Chosen as SBI MLS Mid-Season MVP by SBI editorial staff, Wright-Phillips beat out a field that included Sporting KC striker Dom Dwyer, Los Angeles Galaxy star Robbie Keane and teammate Thierry Henry.
Here is a closer look at the Mid-Season MVP finalists, as well as your chance to vote for the award:
SBI MLS MID-SEASON MVP CANDIDATES
1. BRADLEY WRIGHT-PHILLIPS
His 18 goals has him on pace to shatter his club’s record for goals in a season, and he currently has four goals more than the next-highest scoring player in the league.
2. DOM DWYER
Tied for second in MLS with 14 goals, Dwyer has stepped up and become Sporting KC’s go-to scorer, and has played a major role in his team’s ability to maintain first place in the East despite a plethora of injuries.
3. ROBBIE KEANE
The Galaxy are surging back toward the top of the Western Conference standings, and Keane has played a major part in that. His 12 goals and seven assists have him among the league leaders, making him the only player in MLS in the top 10 in both goals and assists.
4. THIERRY HENRY
Wright-Phillips gets the attention for his goal total, but those who watch the Red Bulls regularly will tell you Henry is the team’s real MVP, helping orchestrate the attack as its key playmaker. He leads MLS in assists with 10, and could have close to 10 goals, instead of five, if he took penalties for the Red Bulls.
5. ERICK TORRES
It is rare when a player on such a bad team generates MVP consideration, but Torres has been the lone bright spot on an awful Chivas USA team. He is tied for second in MLS with 14 goals despite Chivas USA having only scored a league-low 21 goals this season.
Now it’s your turn to cast your vote for MLS Mid-Season MVP:
Who did you vote for? Who do you think should have made the ballot that didn’t?
Share your thoughts below.