Bradley Wright-Phillips (right) and Orlando City SC’s Jonathan Spector battle for the ball Sunday. Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports
Special to FrontRowSoccer.com
HANOVER, N.J. — Seven games into the Major League Soccer season, the Red Bulls find themselves in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with a 2-3-2 mark with eight points, five goals (two own goals) and a minus-four goal differential.
But Bradley Wright-Phillips says don’t do anything drastic.
“It’s definitely not panic time,” the striker told reporters practice at the Red Bulls training facility Tuesday. “It isn’t enjoyable losing, obviously. So we definitely want to improve. We’re not panicking. We’ve been in worse situations and come out smelling like roses. There’s nothing to panic about.”
Those worse situations included last year’s horrendous 1-6 start in which the Red Bulls rebounded with a 16-game regular-season unbeaten streak that led to winning the Eastern Conference title.
Entering Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. home confrontation with D.C. United, BWP leads the way with two goals while Daniel Royer has the third. The other two goals were tallied by the opposition.
The 2016 MLS Golden Boot winner did not hold back when he talked about the team’s problems.
“Just individual performances,” he said. “No one is playing that well. No one is really going at defenders, no one is just really just making tough on them. If you’re not doing those things I don’t think you’re going to score goals. We’ve all got to look at ourselves — the front four — and be better.”
He later added: “We’re getting into decent areas, but the final pass isn’t good enough. From everyone, these things have got to improve because we’re not going to score goals otherwise.”
In Sunday’s 1-0 loss at Orlando City SC, the Red Bulls definitely looked like their old selves, but could not find the net.
“It probably was one of our better games,” BWP said. “I know it wasn’t great, but it was one of our better games. we managed to get a point earlier in the season, but it wasn’t really playing like us and I think this game we kind of it.”
After that long unbeaten streak that stretched to 18 games through the opening two matches this season, the Red Bulls find themselves in a four-game winless skid.
Wright-Phillips said he and his teammates don’t think of the recent victory drought.
“When you play as a player that doesn’t go through your mind,” he said. “There’s a lot more things that Jesse [Marsch, head coach] wants us to concentrate on. The unbeaten record is last season. If I could carry things into [this] season I would have 24 goals now. That’s all said and done.
“I feel we just got to be a little bit better. I think the attack is not firing on all cylinders. I would like to see our attackers get two, three chances a game. And we’re not really. We’ve all got to look at ourselves. I was just thinking today we got to just improve a little bit more. I think how we’re playing now is good enough for last season, but now we’re getting a little bit more respect because we’ve won the conference a couple of years in a row. It’s harder to play against teams.
“Now we’ve got to find different ways in our game to be better because they expect us to be good and we’re not good enough.”