A penchant for starting games poorly aside, the only other constant for the New York Red Bulls in recent weeks has been the goal-scoring performances from MLS Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The English striker found the back of the net for the 10th time in his last 11 games with the clinically-taken equalizer in the Red Bulls’ 1-1 draw vs. Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park on Tuesday. The second-half strike extended the veteran forward’s impressive scoring run and put him ahead of fellow red-hot striker Dom Dwyer for the league lead in goals.
“Playing with Thierry [Henry], you know you’re going to get a chance,” said Wright-Phillips of scoring his 11th goal of the year. “That’s a good thing for a striker. If you know you’re going to get a chance in a game, you just have to concentrate on putting it away. I think I should have had another one, but that’s how it goes.”
The 29-year-old Wright-Phillips has been one of the biggest revelations of the season due to his scoring abilities – he has netted two hat tricks already – but his Red Bulls teammates are not all that surprised to see him scoring in bunches given his quality and pedigree.
“I knew what he’s capable of,” said midfielder Lloyd Sam. “He gets it from his dad [former Arsenal great Ian Wright] and that’s what his dad was like, always dangerous in front of goal. I’m really happy at how well he’s doing this season, so let’s hope it continues.”
Added right back Chris Duvall: “He’s unbelievably hard to defend. He works hard and he’s a great teammate. If you give him a bad pass, he works with it and does the best he can with it. I think that’s why he’s been so successful: He works hard and is an incredible player.”
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With each goal that he scores, Wright-Phillips is reminded of where he stands in the race for the MLS Golden Boot. The Englishman, however, is trying to concern himself on things other than his personal accolades.
“I don’t want to think about it,” said Wright-Phillips. “It’s quite early in the season. You’ve got some great strikers in this league. I’m sure [Jermain] Defoe will be up there somewhere. There’ll be a lot of players up there, so now it’s a bit early.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by e-mail at Franco8813@gmail.com.