Rookie forward Will Bruin made his case for a spot in the starting lineup with a pair of superlative first-half goals as the Houston Dynamo closed out their preseason with a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution Sunday afternoon in the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge.
Bruin scored in the 31st and 33rd minutes, finding the upper corner of the net each time, and rookie Alex Dixon added a late goal to provide the final 3-1 margin. Houston will open its season next Saturday at home, hosting the Philadelphia Union at 7:30 p.m. at Robertson Stadium.
The first good chance of the game came in the 26th minute when a Brad Davis free kick was kept alive by Jermaine Taylor and Andrew Hainault, setting up Jason Garey for an awkward close-range chance, but New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth used his size to make the save.
The Dynamo then went on top in the 31st minute. Center back Jermaine Taylor floated in a left-footed cross, and Chris Tierney's defensive header fell at the top of the box to Bruin, who rifled a right-footed shot into the top right corner for his first preseason goal against an MLS team.
Less than two minutes later, the Dynamo scored the goal of the tournament when Hainault played a long ball down the left flank, setting up Davis for a cross that found Bruin for a sliding half-volley that found the top left corner of the net and left Shuttleworth with no chance.
New England's first shot on goal of the game came in the 62nd minute when Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall came off his line to smother a Sainey Nyassi shot from a bad angle. Just minutes later, Hall did well to punch away a dangerous Zak Boggs cross, and the resulting counterattack led to a Danny Cruz shot that missed high.
New England pulled a goal back in the 89th minute, when Chris Tierney broke into the penalty area and the ball was deflected toward the edge of the six-yard box, where Zack Schilawski slid to poke it home. The Dynamo responded within less than a minute, as Dominic Oduro raced onto a long ball and fired a shot that Shuttleoworth saved, but Dixon was on hand to tap in the rebound and seal the outcome.
Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution
March 13, 2011 -- KSU Soccer Stadium, Kennesaw, GA
Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge
HOU -- Will Bruin (unassisted) 31
HOU -- Will Bruin (Brad Davis, Andrew Hainault) 33
NE -- Zack Schilawski (unassisted) 89
HOU -- Alex Dixon (unassisted) 89
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor (Eddie Robinson 70), Andrew Hainault, Hunter Freeman, Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 61), Lovel Palmer (Mike Chabala 64), Geoff Cameron (Alex Dixon 61), Brad Davis (Jordan Graye 70), Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 61), Jason Garey (Dominic Oduro 61).
New England Revolution -- Bobby Shuttleworth, Zak Boggs, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 46), A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Pat Phelan 46), Ryan Kinne (Kenny Mansally 46), Marko Perovic, Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski 61).
NE -- A.J. Soares (caution) 25
HOU -- Kofi Sarkodie (caution) 36
HOU -- Lovel Palmer (caution) 55
HOU -- Alex Dixon (caution) 84
Referee: Niko Bratsis
Referee's Assistants: Mark Cleland; Patrick Baker
4th Official: Bret Sanner
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial