LAFC’s Bradley Wright-Phillips named MLS Comeback Player of the Year – Press Enterprise

After a prolific scoring career with the New York Red Bulls, Bradley Wright-Phillips suffered through an injury-plagued 2019 season.

The fastest player to reach 100 goals (in 158 games) in Major League Soccer, scored just two last season and left as his contract expired after six seasons.

Wright-Phillips, 35, signed with LAFC in February and helped pick up the scoring slack with eight goals. On Friday, he was selected the MLS Comeback Player of the Year.

Wright-Phillips finished with 39.99% of the vote. He was the top choice by wide margins in the player, club and media vote.

“I found out a few days ago, I was in the running and I had a chance,” Wright-Phillips said. “I won’t lie to you, I didn’t keep up with it, because that’s just how I am. After my season last year, it was very frustrating and a tough one to get through and to get Comeback Player of the Year is a big deal for me.”

Wright-Phillips’ name caught a lot of attention at the start of LAFC training camp.

“I wish I wasn’t as old as I was, so I could have had a lot of years under (LAFC coach) Bob (Bradley) because these guys know their stuff and it is fun to train every day,” Wright-Phillips said.

At the MLS is Back Tournament in July, he scored three goals in three games, after not playing in the first two games of the regular season.

“There was some interest, couple of conversations (with other teams), but no conversations like the one I had with Bob and (Executive Vice President of Soccer Operations) John (Thorrington),” the English forward said.

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“Bob was honest with me. He told me what he would expect from me, how the players were, what the coaching staff was like and I obviously respected him for what he’s done in the game and they wanted to know how my injury was going and the ideas they had. For me, it was a no-brainer.”

Wright-Phillips made his MLS debut with New York in 2013 after an eight-year career in Europe.

From 2014-2018, he dominated MLS defenses, scoring 105 goals. He was first player in MLS history to score 20 or more goals in three seasons (2014, 2016, 2018) and the first to score at least 15 in five consecutive seasons (2014-2018).

“We’re all excited for Brad,” Bradley said. “He came off of a frustrating year with injuries, and from the beginning you could tell he was very motivated and he fit in really well with the group and with the way we play … his instincts and his ability to get goals, those are special qualities. He’s a guy we’ve loved having around this year and I think there is more there for him as we go into the playoffs.”

Wright-Phillips has scored 116 goals in his eight-year MLS career.

“I’ve had to bring my kids, my wife out here and we settled into a place that we didn’t plan to,” he said. “A lot of things have happened, personally, off the field and to at least get an award like this, I’ve been working hard all season. My family has had to sacrifice and it is good to get an award at the end.

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