Wright-Phillips powers Red Bulls again in 4-1 win

Bradley Wright-Phillips (l.) scores the first of the Red Bulls’ ifour goals in a win over Columbus Saturday. Here he gets a hug from Tim Cahill.Julio Cortez/AP Bradley Wright-Phillips (l.) scores the first of the Red Bulls’ ifour goals in a win over Columbus Saturday. Here he gets a hug from Tim Cahill.

Despite a record-breaking performance, Thierry Henry wasn’t in a celebratory mood after his Red Bulls’ 4-1 win over the Columbus Crew Saturday night in Harrison.

Henry led the way with a goal and three assists — setting the franchise record with 37 — but was still unhappy afterward about the goal his team conceded in the first half.

“It was about how we played as a team,” said Henry, who voiced his displeasure to the team at halftime. “Enough is enough, we can not carry on giving goals away and we have to do better as a team, period.”

After Bradley Wright-Phillips put the Red Bulls ahead 1-0 in the 17th minute with his MLS-leading 15th goal, Columbus (4-6-8) evened the score 1-1 in the 39th minute when Adam Bedell scored after a failed clearing attempt by Matt Miazga.

Wright-Phillips nearly struck again for the Red Bulls in the 45th minute when he headed a cross from Lloyd Sam, but Columbus goalie Steve Clark made a diving save to his right.

Wright-Phillips’ shot on the rebound was then deflected out to the foot of Henry, and the 36-year-old blasted in a shot into a wide-open top right corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season to make it 2-1 going into halftime. After the goal, Henry didn’t celebrate, but just stood there, still looking furious.

Henry ripped into the team at halftime – and the Red Bulls (5-5-8) responded.

Eleven minutes into the second half, Henry hit a wide-open Sam just inside the box, and Sam was able to hit a low shot past Clark for his second goal of the season.

“He was not happy,” Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles said of Henry. “We needed that, you need to shake it up. We need our captain, our leader, to be emotional like that. The guys just fed off it. That’s why in the second half it was compact.”

Then, in the 91st minute, with the Crew down to 10 men, Henry fed a breaking Eric Alexander down the left side with a through ball, and Alexander buried it into the lower right corner to give Henry the franchise record for assists.

“You guys know me, that’s not the sort of thing I’m thinking tonight,” Henry said. “We managed to escape today, let’s all be happy about it, but let’s also go home and think about how we conceded that goal. Another day, before the Philly game (Wednesday), maybe we can talk about that (accomplishment), but my mind is not on that right now.”

With Saturday’s win, the Red Bulls, who are unbeaten in their last five matches (2-0-3), moved into sole possession of fifth place — the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference — after entering tied with the Crew.

And with the Red Bulls barely in playoff contention, Henry said this was the right time to make his point.

“All I know is if we want to make the playoffs and have a run in the playoffs,” he said, “we have to defend better as a team, I repeat again.” 

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