Drogba scores, assists in USL debut with Phoenix Rising

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It couldn’t have gone much better for the new player-owner as Didier Drogba enjoyed a dream start in the United Soccer League.

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The former Chelsea legend signed on with USL side Phoenix Rising back in April, where Drogba also announced that he would be part owner with the club.

In Saturday’s match against Vancouver Whitecaps II, Drogba scored and assisted for Phoenix en route to a 2-1 win.

Drogba, who wears his traditional no. 11 kit and serves as Phoenix’s captain, headed home a cross from Amadou Dia just before halftime and then provided former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips with the game-winning assist in the 77th minute.

The veteran striker spoke after the match about returning to game shape ahead of playing for his new club.

“It took me five weeks to kind of get back in shape. I still need a few weeks to improve, but it’s good to start at home,” Drogba said.

Phoenix currently sits eighth in the Western Conference table through 10 matches, which is 18 points behind leaders Real Monarchs.

 

 

 

Bradley Wright-Phillips gets new deal; Nephew called up to England U-16

Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images
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It’s been a big 24 hours for the Wright-Phillips family.

Bradley Wright-Phillips signed a new Designated Player deal with the New York Red Bulls, while his nephew has been called up the England U-16 national team.

D’Margio Wright-Phillips is the son of Shawn Wright-Phillips, the former RBNY player currently plying his trade with Phoenix Rising of the USL.

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Of course that will only serve to grow the pride of Arsenal legend Ian Wright, who adopted Bradley and Shaun.

The details:

BWP has signed a new multi-year deal with the Red Bulls which brings the 70-goal man into Designated Player status.

“I’d like to thank Denis, Jesse, and everyone at the club for the opportunity to continue wearing this shirt and playing in front of the best fans in MLS,” said Wright-Phillips. “I am very proud of what has been accomplished in my time here, but my sole focus is on trying to win MLS Cup.”

As for D’Margio, he’s in Manchester City’s academy and obviously taking the right steps toward making it three generations in the Premier League. Both Shaun and Bradley spent time in City’s academy.

Reports: RBNY adds young Argentine DP as MLS transfer surge continues

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There are 1,000 reasons we shouldn’t make any Spring MLS predictions regarding who will be left standing in December, and the August transfer window coming with two months left in the Major League Soccer season is one of them.

The New York Red Bulls strengthened again on Tuesday, picking up 25-year-old Argentine midfielder Gonzalo Veron. The move comes one week after New York signed Shaun Wright-Phillips, now No. 98 to his brother’s 99 on RBNY.

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A winger, Veron scored eight times in 52 appearances for Argentine power San Lorenzo, and will bring his attacking prowess to a unit with Sacha Kljestan and Dax McCarty.

Full marks to Jesse Marsch for keeping this basically brand-new unit near the top of the East despite roster tumult that saw Thierry Henry, Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo and Tim Cahill skip town along with coach Mike Petke this offseason.

But, again, considering the league is on a non-traditional schedule that sees loads of transfers in August, those of us who predicted that RBNY would finish near the bottom of the East shouldn’t feel too bad.

Look at the pickups this month alone: RBNY, Montreal and Seattle have all added unexpected pieces. Go back a month with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, et. al. This is one of the unexpected boons of the unorthodox window, but also disappointing to teams that plan a bit better.

The transfer windows fall before and midway through the European calendar. They fall well before and near the end of the MLS season. That’s not going to change any time soon, but it continues to make the MLS regular season feel a bit unsteady (even given the parity of the league).

VIDEO: Watch the Wright-Phillips brothers combine for slick goal in Red Bulls’ win

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Shaun Wright-Phillips got his Major League Soccer career off to a great start, setting up two of the Red Bulls’ three goals in a 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union.

Playing alongside his brother Bradley, the reigning top scorer in MLS, the Wright-Phillips boys combined twice to lead New York to it’s third-straight league win.

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On the Red Bulls’ first goal, Bradley played a ball to Shaun, who earned a penalty after being taken down in the box. Sacha Kljestan would convert from the spot to put New York up 1-0.

Then with the game tied at one, the Wright-Phillips brothers combined again, this time Shaun to Bradley. Shaun took on Ray Gaddis, turning his defender inside-out with some slick footwork before finding Bradley in the box, who directed it home for his ninth goal of the season.

And it all happened in the City of Brotherly Love. How fitting.

Red Bulls’ supporters will be hoping the Wright-Phillips brothers continue to connect as the second half of the MLS season is underway, with New York currently sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference.

Shaun joins Bradley, Wright-Phillips brothers reunited at New York Red Bulls

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Shaun Wright-Phillips has signed for the New York Red Bulls in Major League Soccer, linking up with his brother Bradley once again.

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Shaun, 33, has signed for Jesse Marsch’s side after being released by Queens Park Rangers following the end of his contract this summer. The former Manchester City and Chelsea winger has played for England 36 times, scoring three goals, and appeared at the 2010 World Cup. During his career in the Premier League the diminutive winger won a PL title, FA Cup and League Cup with Chelsea and a League Cup with Man City.

It is not the first time Shaun and Bradley have lined up together, as the duo were both on the books at City in the past. The elder Wright-Phillips is a tricky winger with incredible acceleration and good close control, and after training with the Red Bulls since June to work on his fitness he obviously impressed their front office to help him revive his career.

Speaking about why he signed SWP, Red Bulls head coach Marsch had the following to say:

“We are pleased to add Shaun to our club,” Marsch said. “Shaun has performed at the highest levels of the game for his entire career, in the Premier League and on the international level, and brings a wealth of talent and experience. He has been training here and we have seen his professionalism day in and day out. We think he is a tremendous addition both on the field and as a veteran presence in our locker room.”

SWP will not be a Designated Player with the Red Bulls, as his salary is expected to be well below the $436,250 prorated over a full season, and his arrival comes as Didier Drogba is also expected to make a move to the Montreal Impact, joining the huge wave of experience foreign imports heading to MLS with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David Villa, Kaka and Andrea Pirlo already in their debut seasons in North America’s top-flight.

With Bradley banging in goals for fun up front — BWP has eight goals in 19 games this season and scored 31 in 37 appearances last season — Lloyd Sam on one wing burning defenses with his pace, plus Mike Grella in fine form and Sacha Kljestan knitting everything together in midfield, the Red Bulls now possess another attacking weapon as SWP and BWP will look to run riot in MLS for RBNY.