Bradley Wright-Phillips celebrates his goal with Red Bulls reserves. (Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)
ATLANTA — Well, here’s another tale in the legend of Bradley Wright-Phillips.
The English striker turned the Red Bulls’ 3-1 triumph over Atlanta United FC on its head by scoring twice with his head during a four-man span in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Sunday night.
Those goals snapped a 1-1 deadlock between of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
“Bradley Wright-Phillips is a legend here,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. “He continues to create the story and our goal for him is to make sure that the endpoint is something that he can hang his hat on and we all can hang our hat on. He’s amazing in the way he can score goals, the way he runs and works for the team, his mentality and commitment to being a leader and doing everything that could ever be asked of him. He is just amazing.”
Marsch got no argument from his team.
“I mean he is amazing,” said midfielder Daniel Royer, whose penalty kick tied the match at 1-1 in the opening half. “We don’t have to discuss his qualities. It’s crazy this guy can score at any time. Even though he said he is not as good with his head, that ship left already because he is really good with his head. He can score at any time, and he is so important.”
BWP broke free twice of his man, defender Michael Parkhurst, to score off headers in the 51st and 55th minutes.
“That’s my guy. I knew he was there,” Parkhurst said. “I thought the ball was going to get played in behind us (and) over my back shoulder. I never saw that he got right in front of me. Once he has that step in front of me, I’m just trying to block his header because I know he’s going to win the header. You know it’s a perfect header. It’s definitely my guy.”
Wright-Phillips has a team-high goals this season.
“Bradley Wright-Phillips is dangerous,” Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan said. “He’s proven that year after year.”
Indeed. Since joining the Red Bulls during the 2013 season, BWP has tallied 94 goals over 134 starts and 149 matches. Since 2014, he has recorded at least 17 goals in four consecutive seasons, including tying the MLS mark of 27 in 2014.
He is well on his way to adding season No. 5 to the list.