America meet Will Bruin. Will Bruin, America.
A hat trick on national television has the ability to boost the profile of an MLS rookie, and on Friday night, Bruin took full advantage of that stage to score a hat trick in the Houston Dynamo’s 4-1 rout of D.C. United.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
The forward took benefitted from some excellent service and his physical advantage over a smaller DC backline, scoring with his right foot and twice with his head on his way to becoming the first Dynamo rookie ever to notch a hat trick.
“Guy has a knack for goal,” said Dynamo midfielder Geoff Cameron, who assisted on Bruin’s first two goals. “He found himself in the right positions at the right time, and that’s what a forward does.”
[inline_node:335290]Bruin tallied in the 4th, 41st, and 57th minutes for the Dynamo, and all three goals made a significant impact in the game. But the biggest impact came from the second goal, which Bruin sent home just two minutes after D.C. equalized on a Marc Burch free kick. Bruin beat fellow rookie Perry Kitchen to a spot in front of the goal and blasted home a header off a Brad Davis cross. The goal killed any chance of D.C. putting its foot on the pedal and sent the Dynamo into the locker room beaming with confidence.
“I think the momentum was swinging their way, and the goal came from some bad organization by us,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “The momentum swung back to us with that goal. The goal, the way we scored it, gave us a good charge and some good energy.”
The hat trick gave the big rookie a chance to show his lighter side with a unique celebration. Bruin’s nickname is “the Dancing Bear” – coined by Kinnear after the rookie flailed his arms in practice while chesting a ball down – and team captain Brian Ching promised Bruin during Thursday training that if he scored this weekend, the team would do a celebratory dance.
True to form, the 21-year-old – with the help of his teammates both on the bench and the field – showed off his moves on his first two goals.
“Will’s a liked person in the locker room because he works hard and listens,” Kinnear said. “He wants to learn and wants to get better. The guys appreciate his effort on the field. When Will was scoring, everyone was happy for him, and it shows they’re happy for him because he’s helping the team, but I think they also just like him.”
Bruin’s hat trick put him one goal ahead of Cam Weaver – who tallied for the Dynamo in the 62nd minute – for the team scoring lead. But on top of that, his three-goal night also put the league on notice that the 2011 first round SuperDraft pick is here to make an impact.
“Against New England, I had some chances and didn’t put them away and as a forward, you’ve got to have a short memory,” Bruin said. “Tonight I finished, so hopefully we can keep it going.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.