No. 99 celebrates with a No. 100 shirt. (Geoff Burke — USA TODAY Sports)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bradley Wright-Phillips became the fastest player in Major League Soccer history to reach 100 career goals Wednesday night.
Quite appropriately, he scored it quite quickly, only 83 seconds into the match to lift the Red Bulls to a 1-0 victory over D.C. United at a rain-drenched Audi Field.
The start of the match was delayed an hour and 20 minutes due to lightning and heavy rain in the nation’s capital.
For the Red Bulls and their English striker, the wait was worth it as the game, which was scheduled to start a little after 8 p.m. ET, kicked off at 9:28 p.m. The final whistle occurred at 11:21 p.m.
By then Wright-Phillips had accumulated his 100th goal in 159 games, breaking the record for the MLS’ fastest to 100 held by former New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman, who recorded 100 goals in 174 matches.
BWP also became the 11th player in league history to hit the century mark as he is tied with former Red Bulls striker Edson Buddle with an even 100 goals.
The win, the Red Bulls’ (13-5-2, 41 points) third in a row, leapfrogged the team over idle New York City FC (12-4-4, 40) into second place in the Eastern Conference. NYCFC visits Orlando City SC Thursday night.
The Red Bulls have two games in hand on first-place Atlanta United FC (13-4-5, 44).
Mired in 11th and last place in the conference, D.C. (14) fell to 3-9-5.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles recorded the clean sheet.
Less than two minutes into the match BWP wrote his name into the MLS record book by scoring his historic 100th goal.
Kaku’s pass on the right side split the D.C. center backs as the English striker raced in on goal. He nutmeged defender Frederic Brillant before firing a shot that slipped off the hands of goalkeeper David Ousted and into the back of the net for his 14th goal of the season.
BWP celebrated by taking off his No. 99 red shirt to reveal a No. 100 white Red Bulls shirt. He was slapped with a yellow card by referee Armando Villarreal, since rules prohibit players from taking off their jerseys.
💯 FOR BRADLEY WRIGHT-PHILLIPS ➡️ https://win.gs/2LprmQL
Posted by New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Video courtesy of the Red Bulls Facebook page
Given that the Red Bulls tallied so early in the match, many spectators expected a high-scoring match.
It never emerged, although the Red Bulls tried their hardest to add to their lead in the opening half as they outshot D.C., 11-2. Ousted almost gifted the visitors another goal several minutes later, atoning himself with a bang-bang save on a Tim Parker shot.
United had a difficult night with the game officials. The first incident occurred in the 28th minute when Paul Arriola’s goal was nullified by the Video Assistant Referee due to offsides.
In the 53rd minute, a right-wing cross hit the arm of Red Bulls left back Kemar Lawrence. It looked like a penalty kick, but no call was made by Villarreal.
And in the 66th minute, second-half substitute Wayne Rooney appeared to have been taken down in the box by Parker, but no foul was called.