Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a team-best 126 goals across all competitions for the Red Bulls. (Photo courtesy of MLS)
There definitely will be an entirely different look for the Red Bulls next season, as they jettisoned two of their highest profile and most popular players Thursday.
The MLS team declinced to pick up the option of team captain and goalkeeper Luis Robles and announced they would not be re-signing striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, who is out of contract. BWP is the team’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Both players were emblematic of the team’s success over the past seven seasons in which it captured three Supporters Shields crown.
“The entire organization would like to thank Luis for his contributions to the club over the last eight seasons,” Red Bulls sporting director Denis Hamlett said in a statement. “During his tenure, Luis was an important part of the team and the organization, leading our efforts on and off the field. Luis’ play and work ethic speak for themselves when you look at the individual and team success during his time. These decisions are never easy and we wish Luis and his family the best in the next stage of his career.”
Robles, 35, is eligible for free agency.
“The entire organization would like to thank Luis for his contributions to the club over the last eight seasons,” said Sporting Director Denis Hamlett. “During his tenure, Luis was an important part of the team and the organization, leading our efforts on and off the field. Luis’ play and work ethic speak for themselves when you look at the individual and team success during his time. These decisions are never easy and we wish Luis and his family the best in the next stage of his career.”
Robles completed his eighth season for the Red Bulls in 2019 with a 13-14-6 record, with 88 saves and nine shutouts. In his career, Robles amassed a 114-71-53 mark with 72 clean sheets and a 1.29 GAA. Robles ranks sixth all-time in league history with 114 goalkeeper wins and eighth in shutouts with 72. He owns MLS’ Ironman streak with 183 consecutive complete games played and earned MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honors in 2015. Robles helped the Red Bulls to three MLS Supporters’ Shields, bringing the first silverware to the club. He served as captain for the 2018 Supporters’ Shield winning team and wore the armband for a second year in 2019.
The 34-year-old Wright-Phillips, who scored 126 goals across all competitions in seven Red Bull seasons, endured a difficult and injury-plagued year while fighting groin issues. He finished with one goal and one assist in seven games.
During MLS play, BWP recorded franchise-best 108 regular-season goals, two Golden Boot Awards, two-time Best XI, two-time MLS all-star and the first player in MLS history to record at least three different seasons with 20 or more goals. He also played a large role in bringing three Supporters’ Shields to New York.
“Brad will go down as one of the best forwards in MLS history, and certainly a major part of the success of this club since he arrived in 2013,” Hamlett said. “Brad had an incredible run with this club and will be remembered here as a great player, teammate, and person, and we thank him for all that he has accomplished and helped the club accomplish. This is another decision we do not take lightly and we wish Brad and his family all the best.”
The club also declined options on midfielders Vincent Bezecourt, Marcus Epps, Derrick Etienne Jr. and Jean-Christophe Koffi and goalkeeper Evan Louro.
“On behalf of the entire organization, I’d like to thank Vince, Derrick, Jean-Christophe, Marcus and Evan for their commitment to the club, and hard work over the years. We wish them luck as they move forward in their careers,” Hamlett said.
Midfielder Josh Sims has returned to Southampton following the end of his loan.