Losing a player of Thierry Henry‘s quality and presence is never an ideal situation, but it’s the one that New York Red Bulls are now currently faced with.
Henry scored 10 goals in 2014, but perhaps more importantly, he made 15 assists over the course of the regular season and the MLS playoffs combined.
A large proportion of the credit for the Red Bulls success last season will have been given to Bradley Wright-Phillips for his scintillating goalscoring form, but it will be interesting to see how he manages now that his key creator is no longer around.
Thierry Henry played the role of provider for nine of the goals that Wright-Phillips scored last season which accounts for just under one third of his overall combined total of 31.
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Upon equalling the record for most goals in one MLS regular season, Bradley Wright-Phillips has since been rewarded with a designated player contract.
And with no clarification over Tim Cahill’s future as yet, there may still be two DP slots available should he decide to move on to pastures new.
It will then be down to whether or not the Red Bulls choose to fill the spaces, but it certainly allows them the option to bring in world-class talent in an attempt to replace the legendary Frenchman.
The assumption would be that New York are currently on the hunt for an attacking player to partner BWP in 2015 as Henry has played such a crucial role for the last four years, so that void will certainly need to be filled.
Can New York Red Bulls cope with life after Thierry Henry?
Bradley Wright-Phillips made history on Sunday as he fired himself in to the record books by becoming the joint highest goalscorer in an MLS season.
His brace in Kansas helped New York Red Bulls to a 2-0 win and in the process took his tally to 27 goals – a number only previously achieved by Chris Wondolowski of San Jose Earthquakes in 2012 and Roy Lassiter of the now dissolved Tampa Bay Mutiny in 1996.
Out of the three strikers that share the record, he managed to amass his goals in the least game time with 2,573 minutes spent on the pitch compared to the 2,813 minutes and 2,580 minutes that it took Wondolowski and Lassiter respectively.
He started less games and also managed to record the highest number of shots-on-target out of the three.
Other than one great season at Charlton Athletic in the 2011/12 campaign, Wright-Phillips was a player struggling to find his feet in the English game and the epiphany to join Major League Soccer must be a moment he looks back on with great fondness having now established himself as one of the sport’s truly great players.
Crossing the Atlantic is undoubtedly one of the boldest but greatest moves he has made in his career and now he’s reaping the rewards as well as hunting down MLS Cup glory with New York Red Bulls.
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Winning the golden boot and equalling the record is a wonderful achievement for the Englishman but his work for the season is far from over as attentions turn immediately to the Eastern Conference knockout round where New York will take on Sporting Kansas City at the Red Bull Arena on Thursday.
The way he performs in the knockout round and the further potential playoff games will be vital to the Red Bulls if they are to stand any chance of making the MLS Cup Final on Sunday 7th December.
Can Bradley Wright-Phillips fire New York Red Bulls to MLS Cup success?