Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips Shine for New York Red Bulls

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Alex Muyl celebrates his first goal of the season - photo by Bill Twomey Photography

HARRISON, NJ (March 24, 2018) – With a full week of rest under their belt, the New York Red Bulls deconstructed an injury-ridden Minnesota backline. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Alex Muyl exploited that deficiency and led their team to a 3-0 victory at home.

Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips Lead the Way for New York Red Bulls

While Wright-Phillips’ performance comes to no surprise, midfielder Alex Muyl has often been criticized for his apparent lack of production. However, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch believes that tonight’s performance should come as no surprise. “Everyone respects Alex for all the work he puts in. He’s one of the best tactical players we have. I’ve watched him enough over the last few years to know that he has quality. If he can keep putting (final plays together) he can become that complete player.”

After the match, Muyl seemed vindicated. The oft-maligned midfielder is focused on his play off the ball. Tonight was a different story. He often found himself in dangerous positions and finished the night with a goal and an assist off four shots. “It’s a good way to start off my MLS season this year,” said Muyl. “It’s the first game I’ve been involved in the MLS, and it’s a good way to start, but it’s much more about the team and getting the three points because after slipping a little bit at Real Salt Lake, it’s good to get back to the right foot.”

Praise from Jessie Marsch

During the postgame press conference, Marsch did not shy away from lauding his young midfielder, comparing Muyl to a player in another part of Red Bull Global. “Obviously around here, we are big fans of Leipzig. We watch them a lot. A guy they have there is Yusi Poulsen. He doesn’t score a lot of goals or (make) a lot of final plays, but they say he’s one of their most important players. We think that about Alex.”

Marsch continued. “He doesn’t always get the accolades. He doesn’t always get the goals, but he’s setting the standard for how we want to play the game tactically.”

Avoiding the Slow Start for Wright-Phillips

Typically, striker Bradley Wright-Phillips has had slow starts to his season. In 2018, Wright-Phillips has scored three goals in his first three MLS matches and seven across all competitions in 2018, adding a brace. Marsch gushed about his striker after the game. “He’s just humble and hard-working, but we’ve got to make sure that we really equip him physically where everything he needs to have a productive, long season, and you know, I think he’s even adjusted what he does off the field and his lifestyle, and he made sure that from every perspective, that he prepares himself to play and be fit,” said Marsch. “So, yeah, I mean, Brad is special. He’s so special. When you see nights like tonight, you see the kind of goals he can score; we’re really lucky to have him. Really lucky to have him.”

Muyl echoed his coach’s sentiment. “He makes us all look so good because the kind of player he is and the way he fights for the team, the way he can make plays when he gets very little service sometimes, he still makes plays. So to play with him is unbelievable, we are lucky to play with him, and I don’t think he is stopping anytime soon.”

More than Just Goals

While scoring goals is what’s made BWP visibly valuable, his hold up game along with his playmaking ability has developed over the last four years under Marsch. Those qualities often go unnoticed. For example, on the called-back goal that midfielder Danny Royer thought he had, Wright-Phillips created the play with stellar soccer IQ in holding the ball and a brilliant pass to Royer. Unfortunately, the goal would not count, but the play was solid. Because this aspect of his game goes mostly unnoticed, BWP has never been recognized as an MLS superstar. Marsch went one step further. “You could make an argument that he is the best player to ever play in this league and the best goal scorer to ever play this league and he should be treated as such, okay, by everyone, including referees. If we are talking about protecting the star players and making sure that we’re protecting attacking players; I’ve made this argument for four years with Brad, that he doesn’t get the respect that he deserves.”

But I don’t think he gives a damn. He’s just going to go out and do his thing and show every day what he’s about. He’s incredible.”

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