July 21, 2014
WRIGHT-PHILLIPS HAS A FAN
Wondolowski feels that Red Bulls striker can break his, Lassiter's goal-scoring record
By Michael Lewis
|Chris Wondolowski on Bradley Wright-Phillips (above): "I think he has a very high chance of doing it. I hope he does. Credit to him. He has been played very well. He deserves it."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, N.J. -- Chris Wondolowski knows a thing or two about goal-scorers. Heck, he can look into the mirror every day and see one of the best in Major League Soccer.
So, when it comes to appreciating what Bradley Wright-Phillips has accomplished for the Red Bulls these days, there are few Americans in the league who understand what the English striker has achieved.
Unless you have been on vacation or hiding in a cave, you probably already know that Wright-Phillips leads all MLS goal-scorers with an astonishing 17 goals in his 19 appearances.
"He has been playing great," Wondo said after his San Jose Earthquakes played the Red Bulls to a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena Saturday night.
With 14 games remaining in the Red Bulls' season, Wright-Phillips is not only on target to shatter the club record of 19 goals in a season -- set by Juan Pablo Angel in only 24 games in 2007 -- but he is on course and then some to break the league record of 27. That mark was set by Roy Lassiter, who filled the net in 1996 and equalled by Wondolowski in 2012.
If the 29-year-old Wright-Phillips continues on this pace, he will finish with 28 or 29 goals.
"He definitely has a good chance at it," Wondolowski said of the record. "He has been playing really well. He can continue to do it. I think he has a very high chance of doing it. I hope he does. Credit to him. He has been played very well. He deserves it."
Wright-Phillips finished with "only" one goal Saturday -- a penalty-kick conversion in the 33rd minute, although the English striker had a few close encounters.
"It's a lot of confidence when you see the ball hit the back of the net," Wondolowski said. "You want the ball more.”
Many, if not all strikers, are streaky. They get hot and it seems that everything they touch turns to goal. Then, all of a sudden for whatever reason, the well runs dry and sitters become frustrating misses.
A 10-year MLS veteran, Wondo has been through the highs and lows of goal-scoring. It comes down to opportunities.
"You always need some chances," he said. "Any time you get only one chance a game you're not going to score many goals. His teammates have been doing a real great job of creating a lot of opportunities and he's been doing a great job of getting himself on the end of them.
"It's a hard of hard work, a lot of things that go into it. Every game you'll miss one or two, but you if create a lot you'll score one or two. That's what he's been doing and I think that's going to continue."
When the 31-year-old Wondolowski is on one of his scoring streaks, his confidence level soars high. He feels he can score at any time.
"Absolutely." he said. "You just feel that you want to push for it. It's a lot easier running forward on offense than it is on defense. When you see that ball wide or you see it going around, you want the ball, you want to make runs in the box. And you feel like you can finish them."
And when you're on that run, sometimes you score the darndest goals. Wondo's advice: enjoy it because it won't last forever.
"If you're on a great run, sometimes certain deflections, penalties, a lot of things are going your way," he said. "Sometimes when you're on the other end of the spectrum everything you hit hits posts, defenders. That's why forwards can ... [be] a fickle game sometimes. Sometimes you just have to take it as it comes and continue to try hard when they don't."