Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 17th goal of the season in the Red Bulls 1-1 draw against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday night in front of 20,000 fans at Red Bull arena. He has a good chance of winning the 2014 MLS Golden Boot award if he continues his scoring trend. Wright’s closest contender for the scoring title is another Englishman, Dom Dwyer of Sporting Kansas City, who registered 15 tallies so far. Saturday night’s tally was Wright’s sixth in his last five games.
Despite Wright’s scoring tear, the New York Red Bulls (5-6-9, 24 pts) are lingering in fourth place in the 10-team Eastern Conference and seem to be the masters of the draw, with nine ties, second only to the Chicago Fire’s 10. Sporting Kansas City (10-5-5, 35 pts.) leads the Conference, with DC United (10-5-4, 34pts) and Toronto FC (7-5-5, 26pts.) occupying the second and third place spots.
So who is Bradley Wright-Phillips? Wright-Philips, who signed with the Red Bulls mid-way through last season, is one of two adopted sons (the other, Shaun Wright-Phillips, who played for English clubs Manchester City and Chelsea) of former England international and now television and radio soccer analyst, Ian Wright.
Bradley played five times for the England Under-20s and had stints with English Premier clubs Manchester City, Charlton Athletic, and Southampton and obviously got his scoring tips from his famous father Ian, who played for a numbers of English clubs including West Ham United, Arsenal FC and Southampton FC; he scored 259 goals in 501 English League and Premiership games from 1985-2000, and scored nine times for the England national team in 33 appearances from 1991-98.
Bradley Wright-Phillips started his MLS scoring tear back on March ninth in the season opener at the Vancouver White Caps when he scored in the 91st minute as a substitute; he followed that goal with a hat trick versus the Houston Dynamo on April 23; three days later, he tallied his fifth goal, at the Columbus Crew; his sixth came on May 3 at FC Dallas, then came his second hat trick a week later at the Chicago Fire. Wright Phillips hasn’t looked back since.
In Saturday’s game, the Red Bulls was the better team; it created more opportunities and should have put away the Earthquakes in the first half, but what happens often in soccer when a team keeps the opponent in the game, eventually that opponent gets even, and Steven Lenhart got even for the visitors with five minutes to play. The Red Bulls hosts the 2014 FA Cup Winners Arsenal FC of the English Premier League at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, July 26 at 5:00 p.m. (TV: ESPN2).
ABRAHAMS LEADS GUYANA
Anthony Abrahams scored his league-leading 11th and 12th goals to lead Team Guyana to a 2-0 win over Team St. Lucia in a hard-fought contest last Sunday in the Caribbean Cup tournament at Jefferson High School Sports Complex in Flatlands, Brooklyn. Abrahams scored his first goal off a defensive mistake five minutes into the game, then put Guyana further ahead, 2-0, only three minutes later when he tucked away a loose ball in front of the opponents’ goal area.
St. Lucia, a former champion which reached the Cup final the past two years, hunted for goals in the second half and came close when a shot hit the right goalpost in the 55th minute, but it wasn’t enough for Team St. Lucia. The win pretty much assured the Western Zone title to the Team Guyana Golden Jaguars.
In other Caribbean Cup games on the day, Team Haiti toppled Team Dominica, 6-0. Jovin Vilma (2), Ronald DeMadet, Domonique Marvens, Jean Gary Rubin and Prophet Evens all registered goals for Team Haiti. Vilma started the goal rush when he went past a defender and scored a left-footed shot in the 12th minute; he soon doubled his tally with a header to put Team Haiti ahead, 2-0, at the half. Vilma’s team mates took over the scoring and insured Team Haiti a place in the quarter final round.
Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines turned back Team Barbados, 3-0, and put itself in a position to win the Eastern Zone title with a draw versus Team Jamaica on Sunday. The game was a story of Bajan defensive errors. After putting the Vincentians under much pressure, it all started to come apart in a moment of a defensive lapse that gave Damal Francis the chance to put the Vincentians ahead, 1-0, by half time.
The second half was a repeat of the first; early Bajan pressure was halted by another defensive error that led to Darren Francis’ goal to give the Vincy Heat a 2-0 lead midway in the period. It was all Vincy Heat from then on as Steve Henry completed the scoring on a breakaway. Also on Sunday, Team Trinidad/Tobago plays Team Antigua/Barbuda and Team Grenada meets Team Panama.
Sporting Kansas City knocked off the Los Angeles Galaxy, 2-1, at Sporting Park. Benny Feilhaber scored a free kick 10 minutes into the game and defender Lawrence Olum headed in a loose ball for a 2-0 halftime lead. Robbie Keane scored for the Galaxy as time ran out. Host DC United topped Chivas USA, 3-1, at RFK Stadium as Eddie Johnson had a goal and an assist for the winners; Perry Kitchen and Luis Silva also cored for United. Erik Torres tallied for Chivas. Host Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC tied, 2-2; the Real Salt Lake-Vancouver Whitecaps game and the Chicago Fire-Philadelphia Union games ended, 1-1. Dallas FC knocked off New England revolution, 2-0; the Columbus Crew beat the Montreal Impact, 2-1, while host Portland Timbers defeated the Colorado Rapids by the same score.