Notebook: RBNY Makes BWP a DP

Matt Kremkau

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

As the New York Red Bulls prepare for a trip to Houston to face the Dynamo on Saturday night, the club reached into its coffers and made Bradley Wright-Phillips a designated player by signing him to a new deal.

BWP, 32, the team’s career-leading goal scorer (70 in Major League Soccer play; 78 over all), signed a multiyear contract extension. Wright-Phillips has put together three consecutive double-digit goal seasons and won two Golden Boot awards. He also holds the club record for most career hat tricks (4),multi-goal games (16) and game-winning goals (20).

“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,” Wright-Phillips said in a statement, referring to Sporting Director Denis Hamlett and Coach Jesse Marsch. “I am very proud of what has been accomplished in my time here, but my sole focus is on trying to win an MLS Cup.”

Injury Sidelines Grella

Mike Grella wasn’t in the team’s line-up for Saturday’s scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake with Coach Jesse Marsch providing some background about Grella’s injury.

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

“It stems all the way back to the playoff series against Montreal,” Marsch said. “At the end of the season he felt a little something weird in his knee. They were hoping that going into the off-season that some rest would help everything calm down. MRI’s didn’t really show anything that big, maybe a bone bruise. Now, the more that it’s been investigated, they think it might be a little defect at the end of his femur.”

Grella likely will be shut down for four weeks, but another operation does not seem warranted. Grella has been with the team since 2015 but has had his playing time reduced with the introduction of Daniel Royer, Gonzalo Verón and Alex Muyl.

Verón on the Mend

Gonzalo Verón, the oft-injured Argentine forward, sustained another injury before the start of the MLS regular season. He is expected to soon be back on the field.

“He will start, for sure, field work, on Thursday,” Marsch said. “With an eye on not the Houston game but the Orlando game with the potential for him to start to return to play.”

Verón was slotted into the second striker position next to Wright-Phillips during preseason. Fredrik Gulbrandsen, however, has joined the team and may force Verón back out wide. What that means for the role of Sacha Kljestan role remains to be seen. Currently, Royer is on the right wing and Kljestan has been on the opposite side of the field.

Red Bull II Opens With a Draw

New York Red Bull II started its 2017 USL campaign with a 3-3 draw against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds at Highmark Stadium. The line-up consisted of many new faces and a revamped back line. The game was fast-paced with the defenses of both teams having trouble with the speed of play in an entertaining match. Next up, NYRB II will play its first match at Montclair State University, against the Richmond Kickers. Expectations are for a similar line-up although there could be some surprises from the first team, including Verón.

Vincent Bezecourt stood out in Week 1, scoring two goals, including a penalty kick. He was a midseason addition for NYRB II last year and missed some time after a knee injury.