Wright-Phillips helps Red Bulls rally to draw Crew

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Bradley Wright-Phillips capped off a memorable week in style, following his hat trick performance with a game-tying goal against the Columbus Crew.

The English strikers’ notch was just enough for the New York Red Bulls to take a hard fought point on the road in a 1-1 draw at Crew Stadium.

“He did well, I’m glad he got another goal,” head coach Mike Petke said of his red-hot striker. “All the guys did well. I think we had a large chunk of possession tonight, which I’m pleased with. Our possession game is growing as well.

“It was a good point.”

It was also a surprisingly strong performance from New York, as Petke elected to start the same lineup for the second time in four days. Even with short rest, New York took the offensive footing from the onset. A resurgent Eric Alexander was bested by keeper Steve Clark one-on-one in the second minute of the match. Thierry Henry would be next to test the net, with Alexander dropping a ball towards the trailing Frenchman. His shot soared high.

New York kept the pressure on Columbus, offering few quality chances on net. Waylon Francis sent a ball destined for the upper 90, but Luis Robles bested the shot. Minutes later, Federico Higuain would send a rocket volley on net, but right at the Red Bulls keeper.

Despite a strong start, New York fell behind thanks to an ill-advised tackle in the box by Kosuke Kimura. The Japanese back pushed Justin Merram from behind, earning Columbus the penalty. Jairo Arrieta lined up the shot and beat Robles for the lead in the 39th minute.

Coach Gregg Berhalter had his side bunker down to start the second, relying on the strong play of Clark and their stout defense. Despite that, Arrieta nearly doubled the team’s lead, beating both Jamison Olave and Robles to a shot, but catching the left post with his effort.

A moment of brilliance from Wright-Phillips is all it took to break down the home side. The English striker received service from countryman Lloyd Sam, took a quick touch while covered by his defender and blasted a shot past his marker and Clark for the tying goal in the 66th minute.

“When Lloyd’s on the ball he likes to have an end product,” Wright-Phillips said. “I gambled on it really, I don’t know if he miss hit it or if it ended up falling to me I tried to get a good touch on it and get a strike on goal because I think I let two in the first half go away so I just wanted to get a shot on target.”

It was his fourth goal in four days, and a timely strike for a frustrated and tired Red Bull side.

The match continued in back and forth fashion, but neither side could find a breakthrough. New York improve their record to 2-2-5 while Columbus go 3-1-3.

“I was pleased in many aspects of our performance tonight,” Petke said. “After the first seven minutes we should have be up 2-0. After the two breakaways I figured if we continued to put pressure on and that keep the work rate up, we would be able to find the little pockets to get the ball and we would be okay. Then, we make a mental mistake with the penalty kick but we fought back hard to get the tying goal and this was a very good point for us.”

The Red Bulls now face an eight-day break, with their next match scheduled against FC Dallas on May 4th at FC Dallas Stadium.