New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry has backed teammate Bradley Wright-Phillips in the race for Major League Soccer’s Most Valuable Player award for the 2014 season.
Wright-Phillips tied the single season goalscoring record with his brace against Sporting Kansas City in the final regular season game on Sunday, as he equalled Chris Wondolowski and Roy Lassiter’s record of 27 goals in one season.
And Henry believes that his consistency over the course of the season make it hard to overlook the Englishman.
“No disrespect to anyone, Bradley’s been doing that since Day 1, not finished well, not played well in the middle or started well. He started, was still there in the middle and finished strong.
“He played well from the beginning. And the [MVP award] is for the player of the season. Player of the season, not the last three months, not the middle months, not the five first games. Player of the season.
“Did you play well the whole season? How many games has Bradley had? Thirty-two. That’s why for me he will get my vote,” Henry said.
Robbie Keane, Lee Nguyen and Obafemi Martins are expected to go head-to-head in a three-way battle for the prestigious award, but Wright-Phillips has already beaten all of those to one award this season.
His 27 goals saw him scoop the Budweiser Golden Boot, and although he will be delighted with that, he will still feel he could have broken the MLS single season goalscoring record.
“You saw it when the ref blew the whistle,” Henry said when asked for his thoughts on Wright-Phillips tying the record. “I won’t say what he said, but you could see he was upset. That’s the right attitude, and that’s why he reached that level this year because he wanted more and more and more.”
“If you look at the amount of goals he missed one-v-one with the ‘keeper, and I’m not having a go, that’s what I kept putting in his head because you want that guy [motivated]. Because let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know if we would’ve made the playoffs.”
The Red Bulls have made the playoffs, and will face up against last year’s MLS Cup winners Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena on Thursday night in the Eastern Conference knockout round.
Henry could be playing his last games for the club as his future is up in the air, but a new striking sensation has proved himself to be the real deal, and Wright-Phillips will need to keep scoring goals if New York are to go far in the playoffs.
Does Bradley Wright-Phillips deserve to win the MVP award?