The dry spell is now a distant memory for Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin.
After a breakout 16-goal season last year, there were high expectations of Bruin entering his third MLS campaign. Until he hit a wall of seven matches without a goal which also coincided with a seven-game winless streak for the Dynamo.
Nothing a US national team call-up couldn't fix. In the three games since returning from CONCACAF Gold Cup duty with the USA, Bruin is finding the net again. His two goals and two assists in that time see him tied for the club lead in both categories.
What's the secret? Bruin says it boils down to confidence and a little bit of luck.
WATCH: Bruin's goal vs. Seattle
“When everything’s going good, it’s going in. When everything’s going bad, things are going on the wrong side of the post,” Bruin said.
“Confidence for a striker’s huge,” he added. “Every striker goes through ups and downs; it’s just staying with the opportunities.”
His confidence could only have been boosted by his month-long stint with the USMNT in July. While he only made a cameo appearance in a pre-Gold Cup friendly against Guatemala, his performances since returning to the Dynamo indicate that the time away has paid dividends.
“Being in those shoes, maybe mentally you come back and say ‘I want to prove that I belong at that level and to get that opportunity I’ve got to come back and play well for my club team,’” said team captain and fellow USMNT player Brad Davis. “I think for him definitely there’s some motivation … Hopefully internally that’s a boost for him.”
The surging Dynamo (4-1-1 in their last six) will hope Bruin's post-Gold Cup run of form doesn't fade any time soon, especially with a tough five-game stretch against Eastern teams in playoff contention, including four on the road.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.