Bradley Wright-Phillips Asserts Dominance Over NYCFC

USA Today

Prior to the first ever Hudson River Derby last year, Red Bull New York striker Bradley Wright-Phillips made it clear that the upcoming match against New York City F.C. was of great import to him. “I said it before the first time we ever played them, I want to be the first to score in this game (which he accomplished). To me it means… it just means so much more to me when I’m out there. I want it, I want to get goals, and I want to be remembered in the derby.”

Wright-Phillips has certainly etched his performances into the fabric of the Tri-State area rivalry as he netted a brace in the Red Bulls’ commanding 4-1 victory over NYCFC on Sunday afternoon. His two tallies, which bookended the scoring, have given the Englishman an astonishing eight goals in the six matchups between the clubs. As he walked off the pitch to a standing ovation in the 84th minute, Red Bulls fans were chanting towards their rivals, “Who’s your Daddy?”

His two goals also served as a relief for Wright-Phillips, who had gone over a month without scoring, and two months without a multiple-goal game. He opened the scoring in the 20th minute, when he accepted a pass from MLS All-Star Sacha Kljestan, and slotted his shot past NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders and inside the far right post. After the match, he heaped praise on his teammate, “I wanted to get my… just get back on the scoring sheet. And yeah, it was good, great move from Sacha, man. Yeah, I didn’t have to do much.”

In the second-half, he secured the Red Bull’s ninth win of the season as he outran NYCFC defender Ethan White in the 71st minute and, not once but twice, crossed-over Saunders before depositing the ball into the right side of the net once again.

As evidenced by his eight goals in six matches, Wright-Phillips has always seemed to step up his game against NYCFC. Sunday’s brace was the second he has secured against their cross-town opponents, as he scored twice in the infamous 7-0 drubbing at Yankee Stadium in May.

When asked why he has seemed to step up his level of play against NYCFC, Wright-Phillips remained humble. “I don’t know, man. It’s just…if I had to put it on anything, I don’t feel like I’m doing anything different but if I had to put it on anything, I’ve grown up, you know, watching derbies and you know I get nervous before them, it’s a different feeling.” The rivalry certainly has deep meaning for him, “It’s definitely the real deal.”

NYCFC head coach, and world soccer legend, Patrick Vieira heaped praise on Wright-Phillips after the match. “Bradley is a good player, and I think like any other players in the league, when you give them space, he can express his talent. And we knew how good he is, and he confirmed the quality that he has.”

While Sunday’s was the third and final time the teams were scheduled to meet this season, there exists a very real possibility that a fourth installment may occur. With the victory, RBNY pulled within two points of the Eastern Conference leaders, NYCFC. With both teams slated to make the playoffs, as it stands now, the potential seventh-ever installment of the Hudson River Derby would be the most important. However, based on his past performances, RBNY fans should feel confident that the second-highest goal scorer in franchise history will lead them offensively.