The choice for 2016 MLS Top Striker is clear: Bradley Wright-Phillips. With 24 goals in 2,761 minutes played in the regular season, BWP was the MLS Golden Boot winner for the second time in three years. The Englishman has scored 68 goals in that three year period, more than any other MLS player in that timespan.
He finished third in chance quality xG per 90 minutes among players with a minimum of 900 minutes played with 0.53 cQxG/90. Jack McInerney of the Portland Timbers was first with 0.64 cQxG/90 (in 904 minutes), and league newcomer Ola Kamara of the Columbus Crew was second with 0.56 cQxG/90 (in 1,859 minutes).
When it came to shot quality, no one came close to the New York Red Bull. BWP was number one with 0.88 sQxG/90, again among players with more than 900 minutes. Next best were Jack McInerney and Ola Kamara, both with 0.74. sQxG builds off of cQxG and factors in post shot contact information. So, this jump tells us that not only was BWP good at getting on the end of quality chances, his finishing was excellent when the chance came his way.
Wright-Phillips took 103 shots: 15 with his head, 16 with his weak foot and 72 with his dominant foot. He was accurate in his shooting 54.4% of the time, and he converted 23.3% of the time. By contrast, the number two goal scorer and crosstown rival David Villa took 163 shots with 41.7% accuracy and a 14.1% conversion rate.
Wright-Phillips and the New York Red Bulls will face the winner between Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union from tonight’s Eastern Conference MLS Playoffs Knockout Round. The Red Bulls go into the Conference Semifinals as our top ranked team at the end of the regular season. The Red Bulls have made one MLS Cup final appearance but have yet to bring the trophy home. A championship for his team would make a Golden Boot win much sweeter.