HARRISON, N.J. – A mere 24 hours after being a question mark for the New York Red Bulls because of flu-like symptoms, Bradley Wright-Philips showed no ill effects in helping his club roll past the Houston Dynamo.
Wright-Phillips scored a hat-trick to propel the Red Bulls to an imperious 4-0 win over the Dynamo at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night. The three-goal performance was the first by an English player in MLS and first for New York since Thierry Henry did it in a 5-2 win over Montreal on March 31, 2012.
The win improved the Red Bulls to 2-2-4 on the season and moved them to third place in the Eastern Conference. The loss dropped the Dynamo to 2-4-1 on the year.
After flashing an open header wide of goal in the opening moments of the match, Wright-Phillips scored his first of the game in the 12th minute following some good passing and movement from the Red Bulls. Kosuke Kimura found a free-roaming Henry down the right flank and New York’s captain then sent in a low cross that Wright-Phillips directed home.
Wright-Phillips was at it again 12 minutes later. More quality passing allowed for Roy Miller to win a 50-50 ball down the left before the Costa Rican picked out Wright-Phillips at the near post for a one-touch finish.
The Red Bulls piled on the misery in the second half. Henry scored his third of the season with ease after Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall pushed a cross in the Frenchman’s path, and Wright-Phillips converted on a penalty kick in the 85th minute to complete his hat-trick.
For Houston, the match was certainly one to forget. The Dynamo lacked sharpness on both sides of the ball from the onset, with the forwards failing to find the back of the net despite having some good looks and Warren Creavalle struggling to defend the right flank in place of the suspended Kofi Sarkodie.
New York goalkeeper Luis Robles did make one key save in the match, blocking a Giles Barnes shot seconds into the second half following a bad turnover from Dax McCarty.
What made matters worse for the frustrated Dynamo was Ricardo Clark’s early exit from the game. Clark collided with Wright-Phillips on a play shortly after the hour-mark, and had to be helped off the field by two members of the Houston staff before being replaced by AJ Cochran in the 63rd minute.
Both teams face short turnarounds as they return to action this weekend, with the Red Bulls traveling to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday before the Dynamo host the Portland Timbers on Sunday.