Now with his third club in four years, Eric Brunner just wants some stability. And he believes he’s found it in Houston.
The 6-foot-4 defender’s career was derailed in 2012 as he battled injuries and struggled along with the Portland Timbers, who sank toward the bottom of the Western Conference. But after last week’s trade to the MLS Cup runners-up, Brunner is going from one extreme to the other.
“It’s going to be cool to go to something stable,” the center back told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the trade. “Obviously there were coaching changes and a lot of stuff going on last season, but as of right now, I’m looking forward to putting everything in the past.”
GOAL: Brunner slams it home
The defender was adamant that he enjoyed his time in Portland but was excited to be headed to Houston, where he expects a familiar type of manager and some friendly faces will help him get things back on track.
One of the initial things Brunner pointed out was the positives of the similarities between working for Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear (who has coveted the defender for some time) and his former boss in Portland, John Spencer, a longtime former assistant coach in Houston.
“John Spencer was an expansion coach we had in Portland and [he] and Dom are good friends and he’s had a great things to say,” Brunner said about his former and new bosses. “I think they’re like-minded coaches and have the same kind of styles and I think that fits my style. I’m going work my tail off and I have a passion to win and Houston has a rich history in that.”
Spencer cut his teeth as Kinnear’s No. 2 before taking the Timbers job, and helped create some of that history in Houston. Both coaches are known to be excitable and value many of the same traits: hard work, leadership and accountability.
Those are traits that Brunner’s former roommate in Portland, and now once again his teammate, Adam Moffat, expects the defender to match up with just fine.
“He’s a guy that every time he gets on the field he’ll give everything he’s got and that’s what we do,” said Moffat, who praised Brunner’s work in both the air and with his feet. “We love to practice and it’s everyone working for one another. He’ll work hard and help the team when it comes to games. He’s a guy that loves to battle and loves to win, so I think he’ll fit in nicely.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.