|Bradley Wright-Phillips salutes the fans as he leaves the game Saturday night. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The New York Red Bulls rolled to an impressive 3-0 win over Minnesota United FC on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
Bradley Wright-Phillips led the way with two goals, both showcases of his amazing talent.
The Red Bulls' first goal came in the 15th minute when Wright-Phillips stepped back from deflecting a shot from Alex Muyl in the box that wound up going into the net to give the Red Bulls the early lead.
Later in the opening half, Florian Valot floated a pass into the box, and Tim Parker headed it to Wright-Phillips, who flicked it in to make it 2-0 in the 42nd minute.
What followed in the second half was possibly Wright-Phillips' greatest highlight-reel goal as a Red Bull.
After the Red Bulls took possession near midfield, Muyl fired a long pass from just behind the center line to Wright-Phillips, who slipped by Minnesota defender Wyatt Omsberg, and BWP instantly fired a rifle into the left corner of the net to make it 3-0 Red Bulls in the 78th minute.
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of the second goal of the night for BWP, "Reminded me of the Philly goal a couple years ago he just buried. That's the remarkable thing is he has so many different ways of scoring goals. I've seen him chip Blake on the one and run around him. At first I thought he was dribble willing around to the right and so did Lanson and then he just found a way to put it right in the upper corner.
"Yeah, he's incredible. He can score with his head and offset pieces and he can score with speed, with cleverness, with his left foot, just about anyway, and he could have had a hat trick when he hit the post, right."
Marsch was referring to the play in the 56th minute when Connor Lade sent a short pass to Wright-Phillips a few feet from the net and it rang off the left post.
Wright-Phillips raised his career MLS regular-season goal total to 89 and 106 across all competitions.
From 2014 to present, Wright-Phillips has scored 88 MLS regular-season goals, which is the most goals over a five-year span in MLS history. The Red Bulls striker surpassed Chris Wondolowski, who had 86 goals from 2010 to 2014.
BWP moves into a tie with Carlos Ruiz for 11th all-time in league history with 89 career MLS regular-season goals.
Wright-Phillips recorded his 19th career multi-goal game, moving him into sole possession of fifth place all-time in league history. BWP now has 15 career MLS regular-season braces.
With all of the accolades Wright-Phillips has amassed, Marsch was left wondering after this game what more BWP has to do to gain respect befitting the tremendous talent he is.
Marsch said after the game Saturday night, "There is this perception that Brad is not one of the premiere players in this league, which, you know, Brad got a couple of shots in on him early in the game, and -- he gets the call, like why doesn't Bradley Wright-Phillips garner the respect of the premiere players of this league?
"You could make an argument that he is the best player to ever play in this league and the best goal scorer to ever play this this league and he should be treated as such, okay, by earn, including referees. If we are talking about protecting the star players and making sure that we're protecting attacking players; I've made this argument for four years with Brad, that he doesn't get the respect that he deserves.
"But I don't think he gives a damn. He's just going to go out and do his thing and show every day what he's about. So, yeah, I mean, he's incredible. He's incredible.
"He should be underrated. He should be the most underrated player in league history. That should be his moniker because he proves every night how good he is."
Wright-Phillips has been known to be a slow starter, but he has turned that idea on its head this season, as he has racked up six goals this season, with three coming in four CONCACAF Champions League games and three in MLS play this season. He has also racked up four assists this season, including three in Champions League play.
Marsch said of BWP's solid start, "You know, it was tricky on him lasted year because he had the baby in the beginning of preseason and didn't really get to get himself going. This year, he came in really fit, ready to go. Obviously we've had to put some high demands on him early in the year in some big games and he's responded. We all know how good Brad is.
"So it's obviously a very good sign that this early on, he's so sharp and so lethal and now the key for me is trying to always get the balance right so that we're not running him into the ground and make sure that he's fresh week-after-week, so you know, Brad always wants to play, he always wants to train. He's one of the most amazing people to be around.
"He's just humble and hard working, but we've got to make sure that we really equip him physically where everything he needs to have a productive, long season, and you know, I think he's even adjusted what he does off the field and his lifestyle, and he made sure that from every perspective, that he prepares himself to play and be fit. So, yeah, I mean, Brad is special. He's so special. When you see nights like tonight, you see the kind of goals he can score, we're really lucky to have him. Really lucky to have him."
The Red Bulls are now 2-0-1, six points, in three MLS games this season, and they head to Orlando City on March 31.
They then will play Chivas Guadalajara in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals April 4 in Mexico and April 10 at 8 pm at Red Bull Arena.