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MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER

August 19, 2016
MLS INFORMER
Short time can be a career in New York


By Brian Trusdell
Soccer News Net Contributor

Record of longevity

When the Red Bull Arena stadium announcer declared Bradley Wright-Phillips had broken Juan Pablo Angel's club record for MLS goals with his 58th and 59th in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Montreal, the crowd of 23,459 roared its approval – as much for his perseverance if nothing else.

Besides Angel, the MetroStars/Red Bulls have had no shortage of – and in some cases more – celebrated luminaries that have walked through their doors, including but not limited to Roberto Donadoni, Lothar Matthaeus, Youri Djorkaeff, and three guys who ended up being the leading club scorers for other teams.

Wright-Phillips, who came to New York in the middle of the 2013 season, is just starting his fourth year with the club, but that because of the revolving roster door in New Jersey, he has climbed atop the club's scoring hill in fewer than 100 games.

The MetroStars/Red Bulls scoring benchmark is less than half of D.C. United's (131 goals), which by the way is held by Jaime Moreno who played the 2003 season in New York.

The 59 goals are fewer than nine other teams' career scoring records, which means even teams that haven't been in MLS anywhere near as long as the Metros/Red Bulls (like Salt Lake and San Jose) have more established legacies.

At 31, Wright-Phillips could have several more years in Harrison – or not.

Another club record

Besides helping the Red Bulls extend their unbeaten streak to six, get within two points of Eastern Conference leader and cross-Hudson rival NYC and get himself within one of league scoring leaders Sebastian Giovinco and David Villa, Bradley Wright-Phillips' pair of goals also earned him MLS player of the week.

It's the second time this season he's been so honored, the first since May 24. But it's also the seventh time in his career he's been named POTW, which moves him past Thierry Henry for the most by a Red Bulls player.

Proactive refereeing

It probably won't satisfy, and it definitely won't silence, critics of MLS, who complain about everything being inferior to Europe – including refereeing. But the league is probably the most proactive first-division circuit – and there's only seven looking into it – in regards to using video replay to assist the on-field officials.

MLS, which has done offline tests before, has teamed with the USL to experiment with a “video assistant referee” (VAR) system – and it had its initial competitive trial during last Friday's USL match between New York Red Bulls II and Orlando City B at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.

Four more tests at RBA are scheduled over the next month in USL games, which step up the level for VAR from the staged, non-competitive scrimmages where MLS already has examined it. The latest test has the blessing of FIFA and the International FA Board (IFAB).

The biggest concern at this stage, apparently, is the communication between the referee watching the television feed and the one running around on the field. The main issue is time, and how not to disrupt the game.

The debut probably didn't do anything for the standard gripe that the calls always go to the home team. VAR was used in two calls that saw Orlando's Connor Donovan ejected in the 35th and Kyle McFadden tossed in the 80th. Red Bulls II won 5-1.

A little more or less Hollywood

While announced with much fanfare when Magic Johnson, Nomar and Mia Hamm-Garciaparra, Tony Robbins and Will Ferrell were introduced as owners, LAFC has gotten round to identifying the people who will actually be running the club.

A private equity CEO, a video game chieftain and the co-founder of a credit, real estate and private equity management firm are the guys now in charge.

Larry Berg of Apollo Global Management is the lead “co-managing owner” with Riot Games head Brandon Beck and Bennett Rosenthal of Ares Management as his 1A and 1B.

The trio replaces another private equity guru, Henry Nguyen, who is now listed as vice-chairman and owner. Peter Gruber remains as chairman.

A Bloomberg report portrayed the changes as a way to inject local control of the club.


   
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