Bradley Wright-Phillips is heading to LAFC to help the MLS Cup favorites right their 2019 wrongs. But can the New York Red Bulls legend regain his goal-scoring form?
The eventual announcement of Los Angeles FC’s acquisition of striker Bradley Wright-Phillips has finally occurred. Wright-Phillips has amassed an impressive goal-scoring record during his years in the league, all of which came for the New York Red Bulls, where he is considered one of their greatest-ever players.
After arriving in MLS in 2013, the English striker went on to score 17 goals or more in five consecutive seasons. He was named the league’s Golden Boot in two of those seasons and was largely viewed as the premier striking threat in the entire division.
But last season marked the first hiccup in Wright-Phillips’ MLS career. In 24 league appearances, he only managed to score two goals, which pales in comparison with his previous goal-scoring seasons.
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A groin injury did hamper his playing time and he was unable to retain a spot in the starting XI as a result of the missed time — of the 24 appearances, he only was in the starting XI in nine — but it was still a surprise to see him produce such a poultry number after a seeming unending run of prolific individual campaigns.
His trend as a substitute last season may continue at LAFC. The California club have brought in Wright-Phillips to add depth at the striker position. Wright-Phillips is not the great, consistent starting centre-forward that he used to be, but with fixtures in the CONCACAF Champions League and MLS play, LAFC need all the help they can get.
Moreover, striker has not been the most productive position for LAFC. The club has struggled to find a consistent goalscorer in front of goal to finish off the many chances the midfield creates. Adama Diomande has been the go-to player as of late after the trade that saw Christian Ramirez join the Houston Dynamo, but his scoring rate is wildly inconsistent and unreliable.
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The timing of Wright-Phillips’ acquisition is telling, also. The Englishman arrives just as it was announced that Diomande would miss the start of the season with a foot injury. Wright-Phillips, then, should be see playing time right away in the Champions League.
For LAFC, this means he will have to re-discover his goal-scoring touch right from the start with LAFC. They need him to produce in the fixtures against Leon and for the early season MLS matches.
Chances will be plentiful if LAFC are able to replicate their offensive dominance they displayed in 2019. Wright-Phillips is a great poacher in front of goal and is in the perfect position to get back to his goal-scoring ways. If there is anyone who will flourish as a result of the creative supply lines LAFC boast in deeper positions, it is the acute, aware, anticipatory Wright-Phillips.
Two goals last season may be an afterthought when all is said and done. Wright-Phillips could help push LAFC to new heights and possibly even to an MLS Cup. If he gives LAFC the 20-goal seasons he once did in New York, the LAFC offense will be unstoppable once again.