Against Minnesota United, the New York Red Bulls followed a formula that they perfected a while ago. A goal, or in this case two, from Bradley Wright-Phillips plus a few strong individual performance from his supporting cast lead to a Red Bulls win.
The forward, to little surprise, has garnered plenty of admiration out of his teammates and coach, who sang his praises once again post-match.
“We’ve had to put some high demands on him early in the year in some big games and he’s responded,” Jesse Marsch said about Wright-Phillips’s early season haul, which has seen him score six times and record five assists in seven games. “We all know how good Brad is.”
“Not only does the guys score goals but sets up, defensively, our mentality,” goalkeeper Luis Robles added. “He pushes, he presses, he does whatever it takes up front for us to create turnovers, and when you have a guy like that who has created such a high standard, not only by his scoring record, but by his work rate, everyone is held accountable. Bradley’s a huge part of what we’re doing.”
Marsch, though, feels Wright-Phillips does not get the credit he deserves.
“There is this perception that Brad is not one of the premier players
in this league,” he said. “Why doesn’t Bradley Wright-Phillips garner the respect of the premier 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 by everyone, including referees.
“He should be underrated. He should be the most underrated player in league history.”
The head coach also noted, though, that he thinks Wright-Phillips himself does not “gives a damn” about how others rate him. He was not wrong.
“Jesse’s very kind,” Wright-Phillips said, before eventually saying, “I don’t really care.”
Many, over the course of his career, have heaped praise on his teammates for helping him, and he said he is “lucky enough to play with great players”. On people who prefer to acknowledge his teammates instead of him, Wright-Phillips said, “if people want to say that, they’re obviously not on my side. It is what it is.”
Generally, though, he is not interested in the conversation about how he ranks among the best in Major League Soccer. “I’d rather not talk about it,” he said. “My career isn’t done here.”
Regardless of his treatment around the league, Robles said that his talents are not lost on the Red Bulls. “I think that he is still underrated in the league and he is under appreciated, but not here, not in this organization,” the goalkeeper said. “We know that everything we do starts with Brad.”
The Red Bulls not only managed to leave the match with a victory, but also with Wright-Phillips able to last a majority of the match. The player was involved in an altercation with Brett Kallman midway through the second half that saw him hit his head and receive attention from the medical team.
“I got a little bit rocked,” he said. “I landed funny and hit my head, but it was alright. After two minutes, it was okay.”
The Red Bulls’ sheer adoration for Wright-Phillips is hard to miss. As Robles said, “I think Jesse should go to sleep every night thanking God for a Bradley Wright-Phillips.”