RBNY has seen many players either developed or acquired to become a legend of the club. Since coming over in the summer of 2013, this Englishman tore up the record books for both club and the league with ease.
That man is none other than Bradley Wright-Phillips. When he came over to the club during their run to the 2013 Supporters Shield, the only thing we knew about him was that he was the son of the famed Arsenal and England national team striker Ian Wright and the brother of Chelsea and England star Shaun Wright-Phillips.
He opened his account by converting his first league goal in three goals to nil road victory at the Houston Dynamo and scored in the second leg of the playoffs against the same side. But in the following year, BWP exploded on the scene and was torching the net with ease.
In 2014 he tied the league record converting 27 goals, with 31 in all competitions. He scored hat tricks against the Houston Dynamo and the Chicago Fire like it was a typical afterschool met up with the boys. He was also the first striker in the club’s history to convert a 20 goal season.
He produced two big goals in a wild card win against Sporting Kansas City, then two more as he took down DC United in the playoffs and got on the board against the New England Revolution, all with the help of Thierry Henry.
But when Henry retired from the game much thought BWP’s production wasn’t going to be the same, that the Henry effect was going to dwindle, yet he proved the doubters wrong as he would benefit wonderfully within the press system of Jesse Marsch from 2015 thru the end of 2018.
It looked as if he got help from a group of talented players and then smashed the ball into the back of the net. He went from getting fed by Henry to talented midfielders like his fellow Englishman Lloyd Sam, Mike Grella, and Sacha Kljestan.
When New York City FC began their existence in MLS, Wright-Phillips filled the net with ease and tore up the Hudson River Derby with 12 goals and at least four games he scored twice against them.
When Bradley faced the club’s most hated rivals in DC United, he converted 11 times, especially when he scored his record-breaking 100th goal in league history. It took BWP 159 matches to become the fastest player in league history.
He also converted a hat trick at DC United in a thrilling three-goal draw against another English attacker in Wayne Rooney. Whenever DC took the lead, he was right there to say I will answer your tally.
He scored five times in US Open Cup play tying Amado Guevara and also led the charge in the clubs run of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League. Here are some interesting statistics with BWP playing in a Red Bulls kit.
When he was playing with Thierry Henry, he converted 28 times in the league and 33 goals in all competitions. With Marsch and company, BWP converted 80 times in the league and 91 in all competitions that made him the most prolific goal scorer in club history.
Bradley has scored against every club in the league, except for four clubs in FC Cincinnati in league play, Los Angeles FC, LA Galaxy, and Real Salt Lake. He has converted 12 two-goal games and five hat tricks. He has also scored twice in the playoffs against Sporting Kansas City, twice at FC Cincinnati in the US Open Cup & twice against Liga MX side Club Tijuana in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Out of all the legendary strikers this club has had from Giovanni Savarese, Clint Mathis, John Wolyniec, Juan Pablo Angel and Thierry Henry, Bradley Wright-Phillips has been the most prolific goal scorer in club history.
While it was a shame his last season in 2019 took him out due to a groin injury that saw him convert only two league goals, it was even tougher to see him not get a new contract from the Red Bulls as he signed with LAFC.
But the one thing we can say about Bradley Wright-Phillips is that he played for the Red Bulls with his heart on his sleeve and the crest on the shirt than Bradley himself. While he has hoisted the Supporters Shield three times, he wished he could’ve won the ultimate prize in the MLS Cup it’s self.
If the New York Red Bulls ever created a statue out in front of Red Bull Arena, I would expect to see a likeness of Wright-Phillips as his jump heel-clicking goal celebration would be on the pedestal. Yet his #99 has been retired by the club, and that is wonderful as well.
Thank you to Bradley Wright-Phillips who made every home match at Red Bull Arena a thrilling display of excitement and joy to all the supporters of the club.