Bradley Wright-Phillips' brace in Thursday night's MLS knockout-round play-off match against Sporting Kansas City sealed the New York Red Bulls a dramatic 2-1 comeback win.
Down a goal at home with 13 minutes to go in Thursday night’s MLS knockout-round play-off match against Sporting Kansas City, the Thierry Henry-led New York Red Bulls looked to be heading for yet another early post-season exit.
However, with their season on the line, it was not Henry but 2014 Golden Boot-winner Bradley Wright-Phillips who stepped up to the mantle with a pair of goals to seal a 2-1 victory and keep his side’s hopes of a first-ever MLS Cup title alive.
Wright-Phillips delivered his winner in dramatic fashion, when a high cross from substitute Ambroise Oyongo in the 90th-minute confused the Sporting KC defence into leaving the prolific striker open in the box to head home and secure the comeback.
‘Initially, the ball was quite high, wasn’t it?’ he was quoted on soccerbyives.net after the match. ‘I thought I couldn’t get much of it and just tried to hit it on target.
‘I was quite surprised because they marked me well the whole game. I was very quiet. They marked be but on that one, it might have been the height of the ball, they might have thought the keeper would come, but he didn’t and thankfully I got a head on it.’
Wright-Phillips’ brace came just four days after the Englishman also netted twice in the regular-season finale against the same opponents to finish on a record 27 goals, matching the mark set previously by Roy Lassiter in 1996 and Chris Wondolowski in 2012, and moving Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke to sing his praises.
‘Bradley, what can you say?’ he said. ‘Two goals again tonight. I love him.
‘The guys showed resiliency and guts, which is something I’m more proud of than any goals or any tactics,’ Petke added. ‘Kansas City is a great team… The guts that we showed, I’m very proud of. Now, we have two-and-a-half days left to get ready for D.C. but I’m proud of my guys.’
New York now face main rivals D.C. United in the two-legged Eastern Conference semi-final series, with the tie getting underway on Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.