Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear has been waiting all preseason for Will Bruin to score. The rookie forward ended the wait on Saturday in emphatic fashion, scoring a hat trick in Houston’s 5-0 win over Southern Methodist University at the Carl Lewis Track & Field Complex during the team's annual Meet the Team Day scrimmage.
Expectations of Bruin’s finishing ability were high after the rookie scored 18 goals as a junior at Indiana University last year. However, he’s been just off the mark on a number of chances this preseason. But against SMU, things finally fell into place.
“It’s great to finally get that monkey off my back and get that first goal,” said Bruin after the match. “It’s definitely a confidence boost getting the first goal, but I’m still looking to get the first goal against an MLS team.”
Bruin’s day started in a familiar fashion, with the rookie creating two chances just minutes into the match, although neither yielded a goal. In the 15th minute, Bruin finally broke through after getting open in the middle of the penalty area and heading home a Brad Davis corner kick for his long-awaited first goal. While it took more than half the preseason for Bruin to net his first goal, the wait for goals No. 2 and 3 were very short. He scored on another Davis corner in the 30th and converted a Mike Chabala cross a minute later.
“It was great service from Brad, and I had the easy part of heading them in the goal,” said Bruin.
No one was happier than Kinnear, who was pleased his rookie's progress this winter finally paid off.
“He’s done well, and he’s done a lot of work for us this preseason,” Kinnear said after the match. “For him to score and keep on scoring is good, and it should be the first of many more for him.”
With just two weeks left in the preseason, Bruin finds himself battling Jason Garey, Cam Weaver, and Dominic Oduro for the spot next to Brian Ching in the opening-day lineup. Coming down the stretch, Bruin is willing to let his play make his case.
“I’m just going out to play my game,” he said. “I think I am getting more comfortable and, once I get that confidence going, I can show what I can do. Hopefully I showed some of that today.”
- Davis ended the first half by scoring on a nice free kick to the lower right corner from roughly 30 yards out. It’s the left-footer’s third free-kick goal of the preseason.
- Supplemental draft pick Sergio Castillo joined the Dynamo against SMU for his first action with the club. Castillo chose to return to school and finish his degree before entering MLS. On spring break, the Creighton University senior played the first 45 minutes on Saturday and will train with the team until March 10, when they leave for Atlanta.
“He’s still in school, so we found time for him on spring break to come in and not just train, but to play in games,” said Kinnear.
- Garey scored the final goal of the match volleying a cross from Hunter Freeman.
“It was great work by Hunter,” Garey said. “I called for it, and he said heard me and sent it in, and I hit it home.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter @Dynamoexaminer