CHESTER, Pa. — For Bradley Wright Phillips, winning the MLS Golden Boot trophy was nice.
But the New York Red Bulls striker has a lot left on his to-do-list before 2016 comes to an end.
“Like I was telling the team before, it isn’t everything because I’ve won it before and the team didn’t win the MLS Cup — and at the end of it all, all I had was the Golden Boot,” Wright-Phillips said. “The goals don’t mean anything unless you win the MLS Cup.”
The Red Bulls will certainly enter the 2016 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs as a title contender, thanks in large part to Wright-Phillips, who scored his 24th goal of the season to edge New York City FC's David Villa for the Golden Boot crown and lift his team to a 2-0 Decision-Day triumph over the Philadelphia Union.
The result marked the Red Bulls’ fourth straight win and 16th game without a loss — a streak they believe will give them momentum heading into their playoff opener next Sunday in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
“That’s what we wanted and that was the plan,” said Wright-Phillips, who also won the Golden Boot in 2014. “We wanted to be a strong team and come into the playoffs strong. But more importantly, we wanted a clean sheet. I know there has been a lot of talk about how we give up goals this season but we wanted to correct those wrongs.”
Although Wright-Phillips may have downplayed his own accomplishments, his teammates did not with Felipe calling him an “amazing player” that “more than deserves to win the Golden Boot.”
Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch also expressed pride in the accomplishment, in part because of how much the star Englishman wanted to share it with his teammates.
“Obviously we are really excited for Bradley,” March said. “It’s a huge individual accomplishment, no doubt. He was quick to thank the group in the locker room after because he knows it takes a group effort. Certainly Bradley has been huge for us this year and comes up with big goals at all moments.
“He is in a really good way right now and I think our whole group is in a really good way right now.”
Marsch hopes that will continue against whoever they play next — which he knows can be a rematch against the rival Union if they upset Toronto FC in the Knockout Round (Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN2, UniMás, TSN2).
“I think it’s good for us to make a statement at the end of the year,” the Red Bulls coach said. “But if that is our matchup when it’s all set and done, then we will be in for a tough game and series.”