New York Red Bulls add Bradley Wright-Phillips, what do we think?

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The New York Red Bulls today announced that striker Bradley Wright-Phillips has joined after a successful trial period.

Wright-Phillips, 28, has done the rounds in England after playing for Manchester City, Southampton, Plymouth Argyle, Charlton Athletic and Brentford.

The name may ring a bell, remember his older brother Shaun?

Anyway, the younger Wright-Phillips brother will add pace and a direct approach to Mike Petke’s attack as he aims to keep New York pushing forward in the second half of the Major League Soccer season.

Wright-Phillips has scored 80 goals in 302 appearances, not many for a striker you may be thinking. But Wright-Phillips can also play on the wing and in recent seasons with Charlton he’s been in good form in front of goal, scoring 31 times in 87 games for The Addicks.

Red Bulls Sporting Director Andy Roxburgh certainly expects Wright-Phillips so shine in MLS.

Since Bradley’s potential was first recognized by Manchester City and the England’s Under-20 side, he has proved to be a goal scorer of note, whether playing up front or as a winger. We are delighted to sign him. He will certainly add another dimension to our roster with his pace and technical ability.

That’s what the Red Bulls think, but is the jury still out for most soccer fans? Probably. I’ll be very interested to see how he does, his pace and instinctive finishing is top notch but his ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck is questionable at best.

Like I said, I’m intrigued to see how Wright-Phillips gets on.

Not least because I was constantly nicknamed “Joe Wright-Phillips” throughout my playing days — not because we had similar soccer abilities, trust me, but due to our somewhat similar last names — I’ve always kept a keen eye on Wright-Phillips and his brother Shaun.

(MORE: ProSoccerTalk’s Weekly MLS rankings)

Both have had up and down careers, as Bradley became the “Coca-Cola kid” at Southampton, after they won a cash prize from the beverage company to spend on a player. They chose Wright-Phillips and that nickname has stuck down on the South Coast.

But he has also been involved in some unsavory incidents over the years, as Wright-Phillips and Swansea City’s Nathan Dyer were alleged to have stolen a barmaids bag at a nightclub amongst other issues. While Shaun shone at Manchester City but a big money move to Chelsea curtailed his career, after playing for England, and know he plays for QPR.

Anyway, having watched Bradley’s career closely, scoring regularly in the Championship and League One in England was never difficult for him. Coming off the bench and making an impact is also his thing and his step-father, England and Arsenal legend Ian Wright, has certainly taught him how to finish.

Can he cut it with New York? It depends how much playing time he gets with Thierry Henry and Fabian Espindola developing a partnership and the rest of the Red Bulls line up very settled. However Espindola has certainly been goal-shy, with just four goals in 19 games this season.

Wright-Phillips be a great impact player off the bench to nick a late goal. Maybe that’s just what New York need going into the final few months of the season with the playoffs looming.

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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More midweek action is coming up in the Premier League. Let the festive fun continue.

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The full TV schedule for this weekend is below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Tuesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Burnley vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Watford – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Huddersfield Town vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM

Wednesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Swansea City vs. Manchester City – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45.m. ET: Southampton vs. Leicester City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Newcastle United vs. Everton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: West Ham United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Brom – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Bournemouth – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Brighton & Hove Albion – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Premier League notes: Wanyama, Bolasie return after long layoffs, Sakho injured

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Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.

Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ]

At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.

(more…)

Report: Sporting KC on verge of signing French midfielder Croizet

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Sporting Kansas City could be adding some European flair to its midfield this offseason.

According to multiple reports, the MLS club is in negotiations to sign French midfielder Yohan Croizet, who currently plays for Belgian first division side KV Mechelen. Croizet, who reportedly cost Mechelen a transfer fee worth more than $1 million, has started all 15 games he’s played for his side this season but has been substituted off on seven occasions and Mechelen are currently struggling in the league, sitting in 13th place with 18 points from 18 games.

Croizet hasn’t played since November 17, and appears on his way out.

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Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes, a Hungarian-American, is no stranger to the European market and has brought over plenty of diamonds in the rough from Europe to star with Sporting KC. Some previous examples, though in different positions from Croizet, include current winger Gerso, Krisztián Németh, Uri Rosell, and Aurelien Collin.

It will be interesting to see where Croizet plays in the Sporting KC side should it sign him, and how he works with Benny Feilhaber, who is turning 33-years old in January.

Arsenal lands Ostersunds in Europa League draw

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Arsenal will face a team with an English connection in the UEFA Europa League Round of 32.

The Gunners were paired with Swedish side Ostersunds in the Europa League knockout stage draw Monday, with matches set to be played on February 15 and February 22. Ostersund are managed by Englishman Graham Potter, who played in the Championship and lower in England before starting his managerial career with Ostersunds in 2010 in the fourth tier of Swedish soccer.

[READ: UCL draw+analysis]

Ostersunds surprised many earlier this year winning the Swedish Cup to qualify for the Europa League, and then advanced out of a group that included Hertha Berlin and Athletic Bilbao.

It represents an interesting draw for Arsenal, which will have to balance the squad during a tough February. The weekend prior to the first-leg match is the second leg of the North London derby against Tottenham, and following the second match with Ostersunds is a showdown with Manchester City.

Here’s a look at how the rest of the draw shook out: