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July 24, 2013.

For a club that’s inked World Cup champions, players who made their names on the biggest stages, and several legends in the American soccer sphere, none have been more impactful than the comparatively innocuous signing it made on that day in late July.

Nine years ago today, Bradley Wright-Phillips officially joined the New York Red Bulls.

The only Red Bull to ever have his number retired set league and club records during his seven seasons with the team. From the first goal in Houston on October 20, 2013 to his last in Atlanta in 2019, BWP has become synonymous with scoring for New York.

On the ninth anniversary of his signing, let’s look back at nine goals that made No. 99 a New York Red Bulls icon.

Hat trick launches scoring spree

Through his first nine months in a Red Bulls jersey, Wright Phillips had tallied three goals in 17 matches – an inconspicuous start for someone who’d be the fastest player to reach 100 goals in league history.

He’d drawn criticism leading up to the clash with the Houston Dynamo on April 23, 2014, not scoring a goal in the team’s last six matches.

Heading into that game, he had been battling the flu. By the end of it, he was burning up on the pitch.

In the 86th minute, none other than Thierry Henry handed BWP the ball and he slotted home a penalty kick to cap his first hat trick in a New York jersey and the team’s first three-goal effort in two seasons.

It was a confidence booster that would open the flood gates. The striker slotted home 10 goals across the next seven games, including another hat trick against Chicago just 17 days later. He tallied multi-goal games galore during the rest of the 2014 stretch en route to matching a then MLS-record 27 goals, which is still the highest total for a single season in team history.

Bradley Wright-Playoffs

The cross was a misfire. Ambroise Oyongo was sprung down the flank late in a 1-1 game, but his 90th minute lofted centering ball shouldn’t have been an issue for the one of the all-time great MLS center back pairings, Matt Besler and Aurélien Collin

But for whatever reason, it was. Wright-Phillips -- the Golden Boot winner and single-season record setter – was left wide open in the middle of the box and no one closed him down on this floater. If he wasn’t a feared goal scorer in the league coming into the season, he definitely was by playoff time.

And he did what he did better than almost any player in a single season in MLS history – he put it away.

The goal, coming just 13 minutes after his one-timer tied the 2014 MLS Playoffs knockout round game. 

It kickstarted New York’s longest playoff run since its 2008 MLS Cup appearance. BWP scored in all three series – a total of four goals in a five-game stretch, cementing one of the best seasons a player has had in club history.

Introducing NYCFC to the ‘Ultimate Scoring Machine’

No one has as many goals – 12 – in the New York Derby as Bradley Wright-Phillips. No one even has half his goal total in the rivalry. 

He got started in the first meeting of the series in front of a capacity crowd on May 10, 2015.

Just four minutes into the games, he scored like he had many times in his career – finding space between two defenders in the box and getting on the end of a cross.

Despite playing down a man in the second half, BWP would score again to seal the 2-1 win. He scored in each of the first four meetings of the New York Derby, all Red Bulls wins, to tally six goals in the stretch. 

Sealing the Supporters Shield

A member of three MLS Supporters Shield-winning campaigns with the Red Bulls, Wright-Phillips helped clinch the title in 2015.

The Red Bulls needed all three points against Chicago to finish atop the league on the final day of the regular season. BWP ensured they didn’t need to chase the game late, finding himself alone in the box on a corner kick to tap in the opening goal just eight minutes into the contest.

New York added a second later in the first half and held on for a 2-1 win on the road.

Finishing the year with 17 goals in league play, he managed the highest two-year total in MLS history at the time following his 27-goal 2014 season.

Biking to the Red Wedding

The old cliché is 2-0 is the most dangerous lead in soccer.

You get to 3-0, though, then the route might be on.

Wright-Phillips had put the Red Bulls up 2-0 in the 42nd minute of the May 21, 2015 meeting of the New York Derby, but he’d make sure NYCFC had no hope going into the locker room just moments later.

Wright-Phillips saw a cross knocked high upwards and coming towards back him. Back to goal in the waning seconds of first half stoppage time, BWP went for the bike.

Pandemonium ensued inside Yankee Stadium.

New York went into the break with the momentum and came right back onto the pitch to score again. And again. And again. And again.

7-0. The largest margin of victory in MLS history.

Open Cup hero

33,250 fans at Nippert Stadium – the highest attended U.S. Open Cup match ever outside of a final -- watched the home side FC Cincinnati, then of USL, take a 2-0 lead in the second half of a cup semifinal over the MLS powers, the New York Red Bulls.

That record crowd would have to watch BWP break their hearts in extra time.

In the 101st minute, Wright-Phillips found space and launched himself in the air to head home a cross that would put the Red Bulls up for good.

It was his second goal of the day, coming after his game-tying effort in the 78th minute that was much like the second – creating space, leaping, and heading home a lofted ball.

His efforts propelled New York to just its second Open Cup final in club history. He sits second all-time in Red Bulls Open Cup goals with five.

One night in Tijuana

The Red Bulls shock victory on the road against Club Tijuana in the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals is often remembered as the Luis Robles show. 

But it was Wright-Phillips who ensured the Robles efforts meant an aggregate advantage after the first leg.

BWP scored nine minutes into the contest, but his second away goal proved crushing for Tijuana’s hopes of staying in the competition. 

In the 67th minute, Wright-Phillips collected the ball just outside the 18 and weaved around three defenders before firing off a quick look that found its way into the back of the net.

The result was just the third victory in 49 tries for an MLS side away against Liga MX opposition, breaking a 21-game winless streak for league teams on Mexican soil. Neither of the previous two wins were by multiple goals or in the knockout stage of the Champions League like the Red Bulls major victory.

99 gets No. 100

159 games. 100 goals.

No player in MLS history has reached the milestone faster than Wright-Phillips. The next quickest is Taylor Twellman, who hit triple digits after 174 games. 

BWP tallied the record just 80 seconds into his 159th game against DC United.

He found himself behind the defense rushing onto a ball entering the box, cut it back to evade a backtracking defender, then beat David Ousted near post.

Turning the page from 99 to 100, Wright-Phillips ripped off his No. 99 jersey to reveal a jersey with No. 100 on the back, celebrating on the new home turf of the longtime rivals.

One last clutch finish

You think of all the big goals in big games, it was only fitting that BWP’s last as a Red Bull would alter a result in stoppage time.

The formula over the years stayed the same. Find space between two defenders and attack anything that enters the box. The final goal of his Red Bull career, which tied the July 7, 2019 game, 3-3, against Atlanta in the third-minute of stoppage time, followed that formula to a T.

That was his 108th goal for the Red Bulls in MLS – best in club history. He finished his career the No. 6 highest scorer in league history. 

He finished his career with 126 goals across all competitions for New York, an average that’s better than a goal every other game. He did in in league play. He did it in the playoffs. He did it in Open Cup, Champions League. You name it.