Top Stories

Haji Wright delivers Man of the Match performance in first start since January


It had been a long and grueling wait for Haji Wright to get back into the Antalyaspor squad, but after earning his first start on Saturday since January, the U.S. men’s national team forward made up for time lost with a Man of the Match performance.

Wright scored two goals and registered one assist in Antalyaspor’s 4-0 Super Lig victory over Kayserispor on Saturday. It was Wright’s first goalscoring performance since Jan. 4 and his first multi-goal performance since October.

Antalyaspor began the match on the front foot and Wright sprung the hosts in front with a clinical finish in the 33rd minute. Wright arrived in the box to slam home a rebound into the top-left corner.

After scoring the opening goal for Antalyaspor, Wright assisted on Fredy Ribeiro’s finish in the 52nd minute. Wright danced his way into the box before connecting with Ribeiro on a low pass and a one-time finish.

Wright extended Antalyaspor’s lead to 3-0 in the 68th minute, getting free in the box before powering home a header from Alassane Ndao’s cross.

Antalyaspor would cap the dominant performance by scoring a fourth and final goal of the match, with Bertug Yildirim netting in stoppage time.

The result boosted Antalyaspor into 10th place, five points clear of the relegation zone. Antalyaspor will next travel to Adana Demirspor on March 18 before entering the FIFA international break.

Wright will hope his positive performances boost him into the USMNT picture for upcoming Concacaf Nations League matches.


    • It’s great he scored a brace in his first start back after over a month off with injury. That’s the impressive part, 11th against 7th is meaningless. If you look at Global Football Rankings the teams compare to if a striker for Columbus scored against FC Cincinnati. Like most mid tier UEFA leagues the Super Lig has a couple really talented teams at the top then the middle teams are basically MLS quality and the relegation zone is USL level. The Turkish league holds up better in the middle than most leagues but after Galatasaray and Fenerbahce it’s basically MLS.

  1. Wright just pushed himself back into the picture. A lot of strikers playing well right now. I have a feeling Wright won’t be at Antalyaspor passed this summer. The big Turkey teams want him as well garnering a lot of interest from Serie A, EPL, and Bundesliga.

    • Leading American goal scorer in Europe for a second straight season. Dike, Wright, Pepi, Sargent for March window. Don’t know why people still want to stick to just calling in 3 strikers.

    • Wright has been good with his club, but it’s not translated well to the USMNT to this point. Not saying he can’t contribute to the team, but I haven’t seen enough from him yet to believe he actually will bring club form to country.

      • I thought he looked really good against Uruguay. I loved the way he was holding the ball up, driving at defenders, and combining with his teammates, especially Pulisic. The two big problems I’d had with him when he was younger was his first touch tended to bang all over the place (he was close to as bad as Gyasi Zardes was in that department) and he was clueless in his movement. His first touch still isn’t wonderful, but his movement has improved by leaps and bounds though it’s still not where Daryl Dike’s is (Dike’s movement and understanding is by a mile the best in our pool.)

        Since then though, he’s had some average-to-below-average performances, though he really hasn’t had many of them and I never got the sense he’d gotten any real chance to acclimate to the squad and setup, either.

        I definitely think he can factor. I think right now he’s bottom-of-the-Prem/top-of-the-Championship quality, and he’s still young enough he could develop to be better than that over the next few seasons. As 2Tone mentioned, we’ve got a pile of young strikers who are steadily improving and I think the position could end up being a strength in the next cycle. Wright, Dike, Pepi, Brandon Vasquez, Sargent…there’s five prospects IMHO who are all pretty much of that same level Wright’s on and you have to think at least one or two of them will emerge as a top-echelon guy over the next cycle. I do think for all the flak Berhalter took, though, Sargent and Wright were probably the best two available at the time though you definitely could see any of the others forcing their way into the conversation. And if the US scores a coup and attracts Falorin Balogun, the position’s definitely going to be a strength, IMHO.

      • This is exactly what people were saying about Jedi Robinson after a similar number of caps. Give him some time to integrate into the squad. He had what 3 caps before the WC?

Leave a Comment