Bradley Wright-Phillips elevates Columbus Crew offense

Columbus Crew. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Columbus Crew. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

The defending MLS champion Columbus Crew will benefit from the signing of striker Bradley Wright-Phillips

After winning the 2020 Major League Soccer title, the Columbus Crew will be looking to repeat their success in 2021. They had many offensive leaders throughout the cup-winning campaign and they have gained another offensive star with the recent signing of free agent Bradley Wright-Phillips. The veteran striker won the Comeback Player of the Year award this past season after finishing with eight goals and six assists in 18 appearances. This will be the third MLS club of Wright-Phillips’ career.

Two prolific goal scorers

Wright-Phillips will be teaming up with current Crew striker Gyasi Zardes to form a high-powered striker unit. Zardes will likely be the outright starter heading into the 2021 season but having Wright-Phillips on the bench as an option will give opponents headaches in the second half. He is not a player who opposing backlines will want to deal with due to his goal-scoring ability. The two-time Golden Boot winner showed in 2020 he still has what it takes to be impactful in MLS. He stepped into Los Angeles FC’s starting lineup and delivered a solid season of eight goals.

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Zardes had a very successful 2020 campaign as he was among one of the top goal scorers in the league. The American striker registered 12 goals in 21 appearances to finish tied for second place in the Golden Boot standings. He scored one-third of his club’s goals in the regular season and was impactful in the postseason with two goals in four appearances.

With Wright-Phillips joining the team, there should be higher goals per match average now that the Crew have not one but two strikers capable of providing goals on a consistent basis. The Crew finished tied for eighth in the 2020 regular season for most goals scored. Next season there’s a strong possibility they will be higher up the standings in terms of goals scored in the league with the addition of Wright-Phillips.

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Another option for Zelarayan

Lucas Zelarayan took the MLS by storm with an impressive performance in his first year in the league. He led the way for the Crew in the playoffs with five assists and two goals. His impressive display in the regular season earned him the Newcomer of the Year award. Now with Wright-Phillips in the lineup, the attacking midfielder will have another target man to look for. Wright-Phillips did very well teaming up with LAFC’s playmakers and if he can find similar chemistry with Zelarayan then there should be many goals to come.