Two weeks ago the Houston Dynamo's forwards were being peppered with questions about not scoring. Now they seemingly can’t stop.
In Saturday's 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew, all three forwards that played – Will Bruin, Giles Barnes and Cam Weaver – had a hand in all three goals. Bruin and Weaver tallied for the winning and insurance goals, respectively, and Barnes earned the penalty kick that led to Houston’s first goal.
When the goals were hard to come by, the Dynamo never panicked. Now as they push their unbeaten streak to four games, their patience is paying off.
“The only people that spoke about it was the public and the media,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “Sometimes you miss and sometimes it’s just good goalkeeping and defending. We never talked about it in the locker room, we just looked forward to the next game.”
Bruin’s goal came with an exhale of emotion. The Dynamo’s “dancing bear” punctuated his return from international duty with his first goal since May 8, shaking a near-three-month-old monkey off his back via a high-energy performance up front.
“Whenever you go a while without scoring, it plays with your head,” Bruin said. “To sit on the bench over there at the Gold Cup kind of made me hungry to get back on the field and play, and I think it’s going to be a good second half of the season.”
Added Kinnear: “I think it’s an unwritten rule with this that if a guy goes away and plays with the national team, he doesn’t lose his place in the team. You could tell he was looking to do something tonight and that’s good to see.”
Bruin started the night with Barnes, who had an active 81 minutes. His movement and passing lead to several opportunities for the Dynamo.
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If Bruin’s spot coming back from international duty was locked in, it was Weaver that was the odd man out a week after scoring his first goal in two years.
“Definitely I had a chip on my shoulder coming off the bench. Any striker who scores a goal and is thrown on the bench the next time is not going to be happy,” Weaver said. “The decision is out of my hands. I was happy to be able to get a goal and help the team in a win. Most important is the three points.”
Whether it was a fresh mindset or a chip on the shoulder, the Dynamo benefited Saturday night and it looks as if the forward corps, as they showed Saturday, are hitting their stride.
“We’ve been struggling with injuries and guys being gone,” Bruin said. “Tonight was our first night to have our preferred 11 on the field and it shows. This team has a lot of depth … that’s a good problem for Dom.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.