Brian White
ESNY Graphic

New York Red Bulls striker Brian White proved that he can score goals despite limited playing time but fails to get much recognition.

What if you were told the New York Red Bulls employ a 23-year-old who’s a former PDL MVP and Golden Boot winner, who scored at the same pace as Bradley Wright Phillips in his first six matches, at a faster pace than Thierry Henry in his first six games with the club? His two goals were a 1-0 winner in his first MLS start and a 2-1 go-ahead goal with a semi-diving header.

He found the net twice in the MLS in just three shots on target and notably tallied 21 goals in 25 matches with the U-23 squad.

“He loves scoring. He’s a proven goal scorer,” New York head coach Chris Armas said of White, via  Benjamin Baer of the official MLS website.

However, that proven goalscorer only has 742 followers on Twitter. When you google his name you have to click on the second page to see him and his semi-diving header—one of the most acrobatic goals the Red Bulls scored this season—only has 68 views on YouTube.

When he’s playing, statistically speaking Brian White is one the best incoming forwards RBNY has seen in recent years, but one of the least popular.

The Red Bulls drafted White as the 16th overall pick in 2018 MLS SuperDraft. Before the draft, the New Jersey native played for Duke. He racked 23 goals and 11 assists with Duke in 73 games, was selected as the team’s Most Valuable Offensive Player twice and captained them during his senior year in 2017.

White also played for RBNY U-23 side before getting drafted. As mentioned, he won the PDL MVP award and the Golden Boot in 2017 and impressively tallied 21 goals in 25 matches.

White didn’t join the first team right away after getting drafted, but was called onto the second team. He did fairly well in his first 20 matches with New York Red Bulls II, registering eight goals and five assists.

The forward’s contribution with New York’s second team rewarded him a call on the senior squad. He made his debut on Aug. 19, 2018, coming off the bench for eight minutes and then sat back on the bench for the next two games.

Surprisingly, after not being called on for two consecutive outings, White was rewarded a full 90 against Houston Dynamo on Aug. 30, 2018. The striker didn’t disappoint his coach, Armas. He scored a 1-0 winner. White’s first MLS goal will be the easiest goal he scored in his career for a long time, a simple tap-in.

Despite netting a winner, the ex-Duke player only played in three of New York’s next seven games then was sent back to the second team. He showed his scoring prowess again with RBNY II, racking two goals in four outings for the rest of the season. Even though the American missed a month of action with the second team, he was their second top scorer by just one goal, hitting the net 10 times in 30 games.

White nursed a muscle injury at the beginning of this season, which kept him out for five matches. After he recovered, he was dropped to the second team again for two games, in which he scored once.

The attacker made his way back on the first team against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Armas surprisingly subbed the team’s superstar, Bradley Wright-Phillips, out to put White in the game in the 72nd minute when the score was 1-1.

White did what he does best and what was needed; he scored.

“It feels good to help the team,” he told Daniel Sperry. “Contribute to the team and it put us in a position to win the game,” is White’s goal.

Unfortunately, Armas’s men couldn’t hold on to the lead and went home with a 2-2 draw.

Sending his team ahead isn’t unusual for the youngster when he was playing for Duke he netted three winners in his junior year, including one in the 90th-minute.

Two of White’s strengths are his movement of the ball and confidence. In his goal versus SKC, he made a run between two defenders before scoring an acrobatic header in only his second MLS minute of the season.

“Chris had told me to split the center backs, so I took up that position and made eye contact. He played the ball in and I just tried to get my head on it,” the forward said.

In his other league-goal against Houston Dynamo, White made a similar run between two defenders. The initial cross intended to him was deflected but he swiftly got himself available for a pass again and eventually scored an easy tap-in.

Armas talked about White’s eyes for goals and his movement of the ball.

“Yeah, look, he’s got a knack [for goals]. He just has a knack. Guys like him, guys like Wright-Phillips, these guys know how to feel the movements, sniff the plays out around the goal,” Armas said. “When you even talk about him, [he’s] not the guy outside the box. He just knows how to show up at the right place, right time, and he works.”

With the Red Bulls’ crossing system, players who move well in the box and are composed to hit shots on frame is exactly what’s needed.

White has delivered the few times he played for RBNY’s senior team and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him on the pitch more often in the team’s following games. Perhaps with more playing time, Brian White will keep proving that he’s a goalscorer. Then, finally, the New York Red Bulls world will start singing his name louder.

Originally from Haiti, Ralph 'Onz' Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz started covering the New York Red Bulls for ESNY and joined Haitian Times.