When Will Bruin turned his phone back on, he had more than 20 text messages and found, to his surprise, that he was trending on Twitter. It all came as quite a blur, as did the Houston Dynamo’s flurry of activity in the first round of Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft.
In one 20-minute span, the Dynamo drafted defender Kofi Sarkodie – predicted to go as high has fourth in the draft – with the seventh overall pick and traded into the No. 11 spot to draft forward Bruin, who had been projected as high as third. It was quite a coup for head coach Dominic Kinnear, president Chris Canetti, and their staff, and it sat well with the players too.
“I know Kofi, who’s another guy who went to Houston, and I’m looking forward to playing with him because he’s a great player, and he’s a good friend as well,” said Bruin, who played against Sarkodie in collegiate action over the last three years.
The two players greeted each other several minutes after Bruin’s selection and immediately began talking like old friends, hopefully for Houston a sign of happy days to come in Dynamo orange.
Sarkodie’s selection gives Kinnear numerous options on the back line, where the Dynamo already have outside backs Hunter Freeman, Mike Chabala, and Jordan Graye and a versatile option in Andrew Hainault, who can play outside or centrally alongside Bobby Boswell and Eddie Robinson. Up front, Bruin becomes the fourth Dynamo forward to stand at least 6 feet, joining Brian Ching, Jason Garey, and Cam Weaver.
Standing 6-foot-2, some pundits expected the Dynamo to shy away from Bruin because of his physical game and similarities to Ching and Weaver. But Kinnear identified Bruin’s movement off the ball and his partnership with other forwards as one of his most important attributes.
“The thing we noticed about him is when he plays with another forward, he combines very well, and he makes very smart runs,” Kinnear said.
Bruin echoed his new coach’s sentiments, sounding confident he can get behind MLS defenses.
“I’m a big target forward, but I also can surprise people with some speed,” Bruin said. “I have some finishing ability, so I’m hoping to put some goals in this year.”
Kinnear saw Sarkodie, meanwhile, as one of the draft-eligible players most ready to play at the professional level right now. Although a right back, Sarkodie is known for his surging attacking runs – he produced eight goals and six assists at Akron this year – and he said he expects to continue those ways wherever Kinnear asks him to play.
“I’m a defender first, but I like to go forward, and I take passion in going forward and trying to help create,” Sarkodie said. “Hopefully you’ll see a lot of that this season.”
The Dynamo hope to be seeing a lot of both Sarkodie and Bruin in 2011, and the two could help Houston trend back toward the playoffs.