Records are meant to be broken. Bradley Wright-Phillips has been breaking them for the New York Red Bulls for quite a while now: the club's all-time, all-competitions single-season goal scoring record came in 2014, alongside a share of the all-time MLS regular season scoring record. In 2015, he became RBNY's all-time top scorer in the MLS playoffs. And earlier this season, he claimed the club's all-time, all-competitions career goals record. Initially framed as a sort of scoring puppet-on-a-string for Thierry Henry, BWP has surely done enough to establish himself as a Red Bulls legend in his own right.
But he's not done breaking and making records.
This time around he was needed to not just break a record but to break the Montreal Impact. To propel RBNY's climb back to the top two of the Eastern Conference with two goals that flipped around a 0-1 catastrophe to a cheering 2-1 lead for the Red Bulls to take into half-time.
After Ignacio Piatti converted a well-worked goal for the Impact in the 21st minute, the Red Bulls got back on their horse and attacked the Montreal net in the very next minute.
Another fantastic through-ball from Sacha Kljestan set BWP on a run to goal. As got into a position to take a shot, he was felled inside the Montreal area, but referee Chris Penso did not need to blow his whistle for a penalty: there was enough on the ball to take it into the net, despite the fact the scorer had been taken down.
BWP's goal leveled the match, and leveled RBNY's all-time MLS regular season scoring record. It was his 58th goal in league play for the Red Bulls, and Juan Pablo Angel delivered the same total in his career for the club.
But BWP wasn't done. The tie didn't suit RBNY: this game needed to be won. In the 41st minute, Sean Davis found a way to deliver a fantastic ball from the far side of the field into the box. Wright-Phillips doesn't score a lot of headers - mostly because he's a few inches shorter than most center backs he comes up against - but he got on the end of Davis' cross: 2-1 to RBNY. And a record-setting 59th league goal for BWP: the new Red Bulls all-time regular season goal scoring record holder.
"It's definitely a proud moment, you know, the names associated with that record before, I shouldn't even be in that category," said Wright-Phillips, "Somehow by the grace of God I'm in it and I'm going to see how many I can get and I just have to thank my teammates and everyone that's helped me to get to this record. I can only be thankful."
But the Red Bulls knew going into halftime with a lead they needed to tighten up and find a way to continue to play hard and continue to press the Impact. When the second half began there was chaos in the Montreal area and it was all started by Mike Grella.
He held on to the ball and attacked towards the end line, then he cut the ball back into a wide open area - finding Davis at the top of the box. A quick left-footed strike later, Sean Davis had his second goal in consecutive games to put the Red Bulls up by two.
"[Mike] Grella made a great play in the box, as usual. You always have to expect that Grella's going to pull something off," said Davis, "Fortunately it bounced to me. I think it missed Brad [Wright-Phillips] by a little bit, but I was able to catch hold of it with my foot, just get it on target and fortunately it took a little deflection and beat the goalie."
Former Red Bulls defender Ambroise Oyongo tackled Sean Davis from behind recklessly and was shown a straight red card in the 48th minute, leaving L'Impact to chase the game with 10 men. The Red Bulls didn't really look back from there, claiming a 3-1 win and three points.
But there was a scare as Aurelien Collin took several challenges to his head from Didier Drogba and sadly an accidental challenge from Kemar Lawrence. Ultimately, partway through the second half, Collin went down to the ground and had to come off: there was some concern he may have picked up a concussion. Thankfully, he looks to be in the clear. The club announced Collin was concussion free during the post match press conference.
Still, one would expect he'll be monitored for a day or two more, given the circumstances of his departure from the field. "I think when he came off, I asked him, he said he just couldn't see," said acting Head Coach Denis Hamlet, "I think he just may be dizzy from the few hits he got."
Nonetheless, the Red Bulls pulled out another big three points at home, and extended their unbeaten streak to seven straight games. Next, they fly down to El Salvador to face Alianza FC in their second group stage match of the CONCACAF Champions League this coming late Tuesday evening.