Bradley Wright-Phillips Awarded DP Contract with New York Red Bulls


During the 2014 season, it was the Bradley Wright-Phillips show in Harrison, NJ as he played out of his mind for the New York Red Bulls. Despite his league-leading 27 regular season goals and four postseason goals, BWP was not among the top 3 of the MLS MVP race. However, on Tuesday he was awarded with a designated player contract by the Red Bulls.

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With Theirry Henry announcing he has played his last season as a NYRB player, it appears that BWP took Henry’s DP spot. As of the 2014 season, each MLS has three Designated Player slots on their roster. BWP earned this new contract especially with Henry’s exit. Likewise, Australian soccer star Tim Cahill’s production and time played with the Red Bulls has dwindled recently. He did start in the Red Bulls’ second leg against New England, but that was because BWP was suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Currently, Cahill is the only other DP on the Red Bulls roster.

Head coach Mike Petke has said on record they aren’t going to replace Henry with another big name. The Red Bulls aren’t forced to do that in order to succeed in 2015. What they do need to find are players that can feed BWP the ball. He’s proven his goal scoring ability in 2014 and that is not going to change moving forward.

"“Following his outstanding performances in 2014, which produced 31 goals in all competitions, the club has decided to make Bradley Wright-Phillips a MLS Designated Player,” said New York Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh in the team’s press release.  “Bradley is not only a prolific goal scorer, he is an excellent professional and a great team player who will be a big asset to the club in the coming seasons.”"

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The Red Bulls will look different post-Henry, but BWP’s leadership and experience from a successful year will benefit the team moving forward. It will be interesting to see what pieces the Red Bulls add and sign to build around BWP. While the past saw New York build around Henry and Cahill, 2015 will see the Red Bulls build and add players that are complimentary to BWP’s skill set.

While the Red Bulls new rival and expansion side, New York City FC, has two high-caliber players of their own in Frank Lampard and David Villa, it appears the Red Bulls organization has a plan in place to succeed moving forward. This doesn’t seem to include signing another big name, but rather building around BWP and focusing on the academy players coming up. It may face some doubters for not signing another big name, but you don’t always need big names to succeed. Just look at Toronto FC with high-caliber player like Michael Bradley and Jermain Defoe. They started well but crashed out badly when it mattered down the stretch and missed out on reaching the playoffs.

All in all, BWP signed as a DP is  good move for the Red Bulls. It sets them up for success in 2015 and beyond and guarantees that BWP remains in a Red Bulls jersey moving forward as well.