Shaun Wright-Phillips' presence on the New York Red Bulls this season was a happy accident. He crossed the Atlantic to attend his brother Bradley's wedding, and was convinced to stay, train, and eventually sign with the club. The elder Wright-Phillips brother came with a strong pedigree, and within 13 minutes of his MLS debut he had earned a penalty and provided an assist to Bradley Wright-Phillips. But his bright performance off the bench against the Philadelphia Union would prove to be the high point of his tenure with the club, rather than a sign of things to come.
1 Game Started
314 Minutes Played
Player Grade: C-
Things done well:
It can be easy to forget the optimism that surrounded SWP's arrival with the Red Bulls. Here was a player with significant Premier League experience who would surely add to the Red Bulls' already potent attack. And in that first appearance against the Union, he provided a genuine spark coming off the bench. Before earning the penalty that produced RBNY's first goal, it was SWP's back heel in midfield that ignited the counter. When he assisted to his brother, fans had visions of that becoming a common sighting. His goal against Toronto was another bright spot, albeit two months later.
Things done poorly:
The problem with Shaun Wright-Phillips is that his performance in Philly was an outlier. He did not grab a starting job the way many predicted, warded off by Mike Grella. In subsequent appearances off the bench, SWP didn't again change the course of a match like he did against the Union. He often came on for Grella after 60 or 70 minutes, but didn't do much with his time on the field. At 33, now 34, Shaun Wright-Phillips simply is not the player who once shined with Chelsea.