It’s official: Bradley Wright-Phillips has signed with Los Angeles Football Club. The news was confirmed by the club on Friday after the player announced it last weekend.
Wright-Phillips, 34, joins after seven seasons with the New York Red Bulls. A midseason trialist in 2013, he earned a contract and from 2014-18, was the league’s most consistent scorer, winning the Golden Boot twice, scoring at least 17 goals a season in that span, and equaling the then-record of 27 goals in a season in 2014, since eclipsed, most recently by Carlos Vela in 2019 with 31.
“Bradley is one of the most prolific goalscorers in MLS history and the type of player that can be a difference-maker for us,” said LAFC EVP & General Manager John Thorrington in a team statement. “He brings invaluable experience to the group as a proven winner in our league, and we look forward to welcoming him and his family to the club.”
Wright-Phillips endured an injury-riddled 2019 season, something that led to the Red Bulls to release him at the end of the season and for at least one MLS team to pass on signing after exploring the possibility. That disappointing 2019 means BWP is a risk of sorts for LAFC, but if it was just a one-season blip and he is healthy and productive, it can be a very savvy move indeed for the club.
And Wright-Phillips looks set to play a role for LAFC for the start of the campaign. While Bob Bradley has three starting-caliber winger/forwards for the three slots up front, in Vela, Diego Rossi and Brian Rodriguez, Adama Diomande’s broken foot puts the Norwegian out for some time, and Wright-Phillips is the pure central striker on the roster. Expect him to mix appearances off the bench with some starts early on this season, and if he hits a vein of form, he could stay in the lineup.
Update: The club subsequently revealed Wright-Phillips recently had sports hernia surgery and Bob Bradley suggested the player would be out around six weeks.
“We knew we would have to give a little time early on, but once he’s back and pain-free we really think it will work well.”— LAFC (@LAFC) February 14, 2020
⚽️ Preparing for Season 3
Details: https://t.co/HQwyKSwasb pic.twitter.com/aUGMwQvjxB
As for his jersey number with his trademark 99 taken by Dio? It will be No. 66.
Got the chance to meet and chat with @BWPNINENINE for the first time after @LAFC training today. He's loving every minute of joining this team. He also shared with us the kit number he'll be wearing in Black & Gold: #66— Vince La Rosa (@LAFCvince) February 14, 2020
What do you think? Can BWP lead the line for the first few months for LAFC? How many goals do you project for him? Leave a comment below!