Bradley Wright-Phillips
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Number 99 is officially in the books for Bradley Wright-Phillips, but unfinished work lies ahead for the New York Red Bulls.

Harrison, NJ—The New York Red Bulls unconvincingly won their bout against the New England Revolution at home. The 2-0 win included a sloppy first half. Many passes went uncompleted and possession was inconsistent for both sides.

However, in the second half, RBNY returned to their characteristic style of dominating possession and the pass game. This led to their eventual win against a tough New England team and Bradley Wright-Phillips‘ 99th career goal.

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Chris Armas and RBNY anticipated a night filled with frustration as they expected a tough New England opponent.

“Yeah, the key was to be able to put together a play and not get too frustrated and that was a little bit the message at halftime,” Robles said.

Armas and captain Luis Robles also praised the game plan as they recognized a slow first half.

Number 99

Wright-Phillips notched his 99th MLS goal. The symbolic milestone came from a header past the New England keeper in the run of play.

He noted that he did not see as many opportunities in this match, but is optimistic about their form.

“For anyone who watched the game, it probably wasn’t that enjoyable … When you play against New England they are a tough team to play against.”

When asked about his ninety-ninth, BWP did not feel relief. As one who always put the team first, he was motivated to achieving the win and all three points.

Wright-Phillips, in contrast to Armas and Robles saw flaws in the first half that needs improvement.

“That’s been the story for the last five or six games. I don’t know what it is. I think we start well and somewhere in the middle of the first half we slowed down.”

With optimism, BWP lauded his team’s efforts in the second half to compensate for their first half shortfalls.

Number 100 and More

BWP’s next goal will mark his equally symbolic 100th goal. No doubt this is a special marker and occasion for any player, but will be even sweeter with a strong push into the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Number 100 will most likely come in the newly built home of RBNY rival, D.C. United. With Wayne Rooney on the roster, what typically is a successful trip to RFK stadium will not be so easy.

RBNY in five games since 2016 have been loss-less in their matches. RBNY owns two wins, in their meetings. The goal differential, 11:8 in favor of RBNY. RBNY has not failed to score against D.C. United in recent times, and I expect nothing different for this matchup.

The result, a likely BWP goal with the always-stylistic heal click celebration.

Now that the World Cup is over and with the MLS All-Star game in the near future, RBNY need to stay focused on the big prize.

This required that BWP maintains his goal-scoring ways. Additional contributions from Daniel Royer, which was seen in the New England match, will also push RBNY further. Lastly, the RBNY bench needs to continue to make impacts. Marc Rzatkowski played the entire match and contributed an assist to Royer’s crucial goal.

Stay Focused, Stay Winning

An away win against D.C. United and Wayne Rooney is crucial to their MLS Cup hopes. With a newly built stadium, RBNY cannot afford to fall asleep against their southern rivals. If so, the points that RBNY need to make a strong push for MLS Cup will disappear with their ambitions of lifting the grand prize.

Also, their next three opponents after D.C. consist of two Eastern Conference matches they need to win. Columbus and Chicago will prove a test for RBNY.

The games played in the Eastern Conference vary from as high as 22 (Atlanta, Columbus, Montreal, Chicago) to as low as 16 (D.C. United). This means that while RBNY sit high in the standings, the misconception that they are doing so comfortably may fool many.

To maintain their run, they need to win. Simply, since others have played more and fewer games, they cannot fall into the points trap. When even at 22 games, they can be as high as 45 points, one higher than Atlanta. They, however, can be stuck in third place behind a fast-paced NYCFC and Atlanta teams.

All in all, if you are a New York Red Bulls fan, ride the wave. With the approaching 100th goal of BWP and with games in hand, there are many signs that this wave will carry heavily to shore, rather than fade out in competition for MLS Cup Champions.

Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.