clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The 27 goals of Bradley Wright-Phillips: 2014 MLS Golden Boot winner & joint single-season scoring record holder

BWP scored 27 goals in a single MLS season - and here's a look at every one of them...

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday October 26, 2014, Bradley Wright-Phillips tied the MLS single-season scoring record. Here's a look at all the goals that got him there...

Goal 1: @ Vancouver Whitecaps

Result: LOSS - 4-1

Time scored: 90'+1'  Assisted by: Lloyd Sam

Goal type: Header


A simple one to start what would become his epic 2014 scoring spree: BWP is hanging out between the Vancouver center backs in garbage time of an absolute thrashing at the hands of the Whitecaps. Sam hoists a cross to the six-yard box. BWP jumps, 'keeper Ousted comes out for a ball he's not going to get, and the header loops into an empty net.

Goal 2: vs. Houston Dynamo

Result: WIN - 4-0

Time scored: 12'  (#1 of hat-trick) Assisted by: Thierry Henry, Kosuke Kimura

Goal type: Tap-in, right foot


Excellent passing and movement from the moment Kimura responds to Henry's instruction and plays the ball into the box at a pace so perfect, the captain doesn't need to touch it until he's ready to make his cross. One touch from Henry sends the ball round the defense and into the six-yard box; one touch from BWP puts it in the net.

Goal 3: vs. Houston Dynamo

Result: WIN 4-0

Time scored: 24' (#2 of hat-trick) Assisted by: Roy Miller, Thierry Henry

Goal type: Tap-in, left foot

Roy Miller doesn't get enough credit for this goal. Yes, Henry carries the ball up the field, shrugs off a challenge, and plays the ball into the final third. But Miller is the one who forces the turnover to allow RBNY to counter, and then goes to ground to collect Henry's pass - which should have been intercepted by Warren Creavalle.

Finally, Miller shows excellent understanding of BWP's intention. When he looks up, his target man is standing behind the last defender with his arm raised: chip over the man for a header at the far post? That is a low probability play, given how close the ball would likely be to the 'keeper. Instead, the merest fraction of a pause communicates the cross isn't on, BWP takes off for the near post, and meets Miller's pass with a more-difficult-than-it-looks glance into the net.

Goal 4: vs. Houston Dynamo

Result: WIN 4-0

Time scored: 86' Assisted by: no one (PK - foul on Henry)

Goal type: Penalty (right foot, left side)

This was a significant goal in the context of the scoring record because it established BWP as the team's primary penalty taker. One of the more charming aspects of the Henry-era Red Bulls has been the absence of a regular penalty taker. The captain himself has attempted one spot kick in his tenure with RBNY: in the first game of the 2011 regular season; he missed. Since then, Henry has become the guy who picks the guy who takes the penalties.

In 2011, the team only got four more PKs after Henry's miss: Dwayne DeRosario took a couple, Luke Rodgers and Rafa Marquez tried one each. In 2012, Kenny Cooper took all three opportunities that came RBNY's way in the regular season. In 2013, Fabian Espindola had two PKs, Peguy Luyindula took one.

Luyindula took the first penalty of the 2014 season - which he missed (incidentally, the foul was drawn by BWP). But chances are he would have taken a few more but for the fact BWP was on a hat-trick in the 86th minute of this game and the Red Bulls were winning 3-0. The captain duly picked out Wright-Phillips for the chance to get his hat-trick - and a MLS scoring sensation was born. BWP never really looked back after becoming the first Englishman in MLS to score three goals in one game.

And, despite being "not too keen on penalties", he remained the team's primary penalty taker for the rest of the season.

Goal 5: @ Columbus Crew

Result: DRAW 1-1

Time scored: 66' Assisted by: Lloyd Sam

Goal type: Volley from 12 yards; right foot

For the first time in the season, BWP needed more than one touch to score. He received a pass from Lloyd Sam with his back goal, took a touch to control, then pivoted to volley the ball off the far post before it touched the ground.

Goal 6: @ FC Dallas

Result: WIN 1-0

Time scored: 71' Assisted by: Thierry Henry, Dax McCarty

Goal type: Tap-in, right foot

Back to the one-touch finishing. This goal is Exhibit A for those wishing to make the case that BWP's scoring is all down to Thierry Henry. McCarty beat the defense with a perfect chip over the top, Henry ran into space, controlled, and deftly passed behind the last defender just as it appeared certain he would try to shoot. BWP tapped in before the defense could adjust. It was his only shot of the game.

Goal 7: vs. Chicago Fire

Result: LOSS 5-4

Time scored: 39' Assisted by: Thierry Henry

Goal type: Volley from 10 yards, right foot

The slightest hint of a checked stride set up an emphatic volley from close range after Henry had carried the ball from the halfway line to the penalty area.

Goal 8: vs. Chicago Fire

Result: LOSS 5-4

Time scored: 67' Assisted by: Lloyd Sam, Jonny Steele

Goal type: Volley, 16 yards; right foot

Barely 30 minutes after he'd put RBNY ahead at home against Chicago, BWP found himself leading a desperate effort to get back into a game the Red Bulls were suddenly losing 5-2. He started the comeback effort with a no-nonsense strike from the top of the box, after stepping over Jonny Steele's cross to let Lloyd Sam chest down the ball to tee up the opportunity.

Goal 9: vs. Chicago Fire

Result: LOSS 5-4

Time scored: 78' Assisted by: no one (PK - foul on Henry)

Goal type: Penalty (right foot, left side)

His second penalty of the season completed his second hat-trick - and another first: the first time two players had scored hat-tricks in the same game in MLS (Harrison Shipp got one for Chicago, and the win).

This hat-trick also concluded BWP's most prolific scoring run of the season: eight goals spread over four consecutive games.

Goal 10: vs. Portland Timbers

Result: LOSS 2-1

Time scored: 36' Assisted by: no one (PK - foul on Lloyd Sam)

Goal type: Penalty (right foot, right side)

Third penalty of the season, and the second time in consecutive home games BWP had given RBNY the lead only to see the game slip away.

Goal 11: @ Sporting Kansas City

Result: DRAW 1-1

Time scored: 50' Assisted by: Thierry Henry

Goal type: Shot from 20 yards out; right foot

Looks suspiciously offside, but if you keep an eye on Seth Sinovic (KC's left back), you'll see why the flag stayed down. This is BWP's eighth goal of the year from open play, and the first one scored from outside the penalty area - but he's still only once had to take more than one touch to set up a scoring shot (Goal 5 in Columbus).

Goal 12: vs. Toronto FC

Result: DRAW 2-2

Time scored: 90'+3' Assisted by: Tim Cahill, Matt Miazga

Goal type: Volley from six yards, left foot.

After BWP's hat-trick against Houston on April 23, RBNY wouldn't win another home game until July 12 - and this match almost made it three consecutive losses at the Arena. But Wright-Phillips nabbed a last-gasp equalizer with a very well taken first-time volley off his weaker foot.

Goal 13: @ Houston Dynamo

Result: DRAW 2-2

Time scored: 13' Assisted by: Eric Alexander

Goal type: Volley from 17 yards, left foot

Sometimes, it helps to be on the small side. The bounce of the ball takes it over Wright-Phillips's shoulder, and that gives BWP just enough time to get a shot off as Eric Brunner closes in.

Goal 14: @ Houston Dynamo

Result: DRAW 2-2

Time scored: 72' Assisted by: Ambroise Oyongo

Goal type: Header

The third game of the season in which BWP gave RBNY a lead that it couldn't protect. This was the goal which revealed Ambroise Oyongo's talents: his work to get by Andrew Driver and create space for the cross was superb.

Wright-Phillips doesn't score many goals from headers, because he's 5' 8", but - as he proved all season - his effectiveness as a goalscorer is based on his ability to get free of his defenders and make use of the chance presented, regardless of whether it needs to be hit with right foot, left foot, or head.

But for a delusional penalty call against RBNY, this would have been the match-winner.

Goal 15: vs. Columbus Crew

Result: WIN 4-1

Time scored: 17' Assisted by: Thierry Henry, Eric Alexander

Goal type: Tap-in, right foot

One of those "on the doorstep" goals that some would appear to think diminishes BWP's scoring record.

Goal 16: @ Philadelphia Union

Result: LOSS 3-1

Time scored: 60' Assisted by: Thierry Henry, Ambroise Oyongo

Goal type: Shot from 17 yards, right foot

This one definitely was not on the doorstep. And it was a rarity: a two-touch goal from RBNY's clinical front man. Henry's pass finds BWP at the edge of the penalty area with a defender and the 'keeper to beat. He takes a touch, and shoots for the right corner of the goal before the defense realizes he's not going to try to get himself closer to the net.

Goal 17: vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Result: DRAW 1-1

Time scored: 17' Assisted by: no one (PK - Lenhart hand ball)

Goal type: Penalty (right foot, right side)

The fifth time in the season that BWP put RBNY ahead, only to see his team give away the lead - and the fourth time the Red Bulls weren't able to bounce back to claim the win. San Jose equalized in the 85th minute.

This was also the last goal in Wright-Phillips's most consistent scoring run of the season: five consecutive games in which he scored six times. And this was his 16th goal in 13 league games since scoring his hat-trick against Houston on April 23. It marked the last time in the regular season that BWP would score in consecutive matches for RBNY.

Goal 18: vs. New England Revolution

Result: WIN 2-1

Time scored: 63' Assisted by: Lloyd Sam

Goal type: Shot from 12 yards, left foot

One of his best, and most important. Lloyd Sam chips the ball into the box, and BWP is there to meet it - but an awkward bounce makes him check his run and allows the defense to catch up. No problem: he brings the ball down, cutting inside A.J. Soares in one movement, and slaps his shot inside the far post with his left foot.

The match-winner in a game that saw RBNY come back from a goal and a man down. The result sparked a seven-game winning streak at home, which was only snapped after the Red Bulls had guaranteed themselves a place in the playoffs.

Goal 19: vs. Montreal Impact

Result: WIN 4-2

Time scored: 74' Assisted by: Thierry Henry

Goal type: Shot from 12 yards, right foot

Fitting that the goal with which BWP tied Juan Pablo Angel's single-season scoring record for RBNY should be one so typical of Wright-Phillips's work this season: Henry is his most reliable assist-man, and he lets the ball to the work until it reaches a position for him to take his first touch - goal.

Goal 20: vs. Montreal Impact

Result: WIN 4-2

Time scored: 90' Assisted by: Peguy Luyindula

Goal type: Shot from 12 yards, right foot

The goal that made Bradley Wright-Phillips the all-time leading scorer in a single MLS season for the New York Red Bulls.

He needed a touch to tee this one up, almost giving the defense time to recover and get a block in - but not quite.

Goal 21: vs. Sporting Kansas City

Result: WIN 2-1

Time scored: 11' Assisted by: no one (PK - foul on BWP)

Goal type: Penalty (right foot, left side)

Remarkably, given he spent most of the season running around in the penalty area mixing it with defenders, this was one of only two penalties BWP earned himself all season (the first was taken, and missed, by Peguy Luyindula).

This was the goal that pulled Wright-Phillips level with Adolfo Valencia's all-competitions single-season scoring record for the club.

Goal 22: vs. Seattle Sounders

Result: WIN 4-1

Time scored: 1' Assisted by: no one

Goal type: Shot from nine yards, right foot

Stefan Frei parries Oyongo's shot in front of his own goal: thank you. BWP is officially the holder of the club record for goals scored in a single season in all competitions.

Goal 23: vs. Seattle Sounders

Result: WIN 4-1

Time scored: 54' Assisted by: no one (Penalty - foul on Sam)

Goal type: Penalty (right foot, left side)

BWP was a perfect six-for-six in penalty conversions this season - not bad for a man who has described himself as a reluctant penalty taker. He'll miss one eventually; Stefan Frei only just missed stopping this shot.

Goal 24: vs. Seattle Sounders

Result: WIN 4-1

Time scored: 56' Assisted by: Roy Miller, Thierry Henry

Goal type: Shot from 11 yards, right foot

Third hat-trick of the season. Third one at Red Bull Arena. Third one to include a penalty.

This was one of the most fluid scoring sequences of RBNY's season: Henry passes to Miller, who one-touches back to Henry, who hits a pass down the line, which Miller chases and crosses first time into the box for BWP to knock into goal. It takes about nine seconds and five touches from three players for the ball to move from the halfway line to the net.

Goal 25: vs. Toronto FC

Result: WIN 3-1

Time scored: 26' Assisted by: Kosuke Kimura, Thierry Henry

Goal type: Tap in, right foot

For proponents of the Henry effect, this was the captain's 10th assist to BWP in the 2014 regular season. It was also his third secondary assist, which perhaps ought to be considered before one launches into an attempt to the joint-best goal scoring performance in MLS history as nothing more than a symptom of playing alongside Thierry Henry.

This goal also puts the captain's contribution into context: it is almost a copy of BWP's second goal of the year, except Henry and Kimura reversed roles. This time around, it was Henry who played the pass that put Kimura behind the defense, and the full-back one-touched a cross into the six-yard box for Wright-Phillips to nudge into goal.

Goal 26: @ Sporting Kansas City

Result: WIN 2-0

Time scored: 15' Assisted by: Eric Alexander

Goal type: Shot from 12 yards, right foot

By the time RBNY rolled into Kansas City for the last game of the regular season, BWP's shot at any sort of league scoring record seemed over. He'd scored once in four games, of which three were at home. He'd missed a lot of opportunities, and appeared to be cooling down. Thierry Henry, the man upon whom Wright-Phillips allegedly depends for goal, wasn't in the lineup for this match. And RBNY's focus had to be on getting three points, not helping BWP along to a personal achievement.

And then he pounced on a missed interception, steadied himself with a touch, and gently placed the ball past Eric Kronberg for his 26th goal of the year - his first goal outside Red Bull Arena since the July 16 visit to Philadelphia Union.

Goal 27: @ Sporting Kansas City

Result: WIN 2-0

Time scored: 70' Assisted by: no one

Goal type: Shot from 16 yards, right foot

There were 20 minutes left to play. RBNY was increasingly nervously hanging on to a one goal lead. The time was fast approaching when the team would need to bunker to protect the lead - and it was being pretty effectively pinned back by Sporting Kansas City anyway. BWP was an increasingly isolated figure up front, asked largely to chase long balls up the field as the team tried to regroup and find a moment to rest before the next KC attack.

Ambroise Oyongo tried one such long ball, and Aurelien Collin ambled over to collect. But he failed to account for BWP sprinting in behind him, panicked when he felt the striker on his back, took a heavy touch that put him into a 50/50 battle for possession, and surprisingly lost out to the smaller man.

Wirght-Phillips took off for goal, but came up against Matt Besler, tracking the play. He cut inside, drew Besler into a challenge, and slipped a shot under the diving defender and past the partially unsighted 'keeper.

One player had scored 27 goals in a single MLS season for just the third team in the league's history. And he scored his last two on the road against the defending MLS Cup champs, without any assistance from Thierry Henry. The last one was scored without any great assistance at all.

This was one of the all-time great season-long performances by a striker in MLS. And it was delivered by a New York Red Bull.