The 2012 season keeps getting better for Will Bruin.
The second-year Houston Dynamo striker extended his breakout season with the first two postseason goals of his career on Wednesday night, including a 46th-minute strike that sealed a 2-1 playoff victory over the Chicago Fire and booked the team’s ticket to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against familiar foes Sporting Kansas City.
"I'm glad he had the goals because he works ever so hard out there for the team," head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. "He's going to get all the praise for the two goals, and rightly so."
The hardworking forward was in constant motion tracking the Fire whenever possible. His work rate was indicative of a Dynamo squad that played in lockstep throughout the night.
And in addition to his work with front line partner and former Fire man Calen Carr, Bruin was the recipient of top service all night with Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Corey Ashe and Boniek García all taking turns providing quality balls into the box.
The result was Bruin capitalizing with his 13th and 14th MLS goals of the year — tying Brian Ching’s mark for total MLS goals in a season set in 2008 — and putting his season back into high gear after stalling a bit during the second half of the season.
"Honestly, it's been such a long season that it's nice to have that mojo back come playoff time," Bruin remarked. "I want to get out there and play. It was fun and hopefully there's a lot more to go."
Midfield work pays off
Simply put, Houston's midfield answered the bell Wednesday night. The quartet of Davis, Clark, García and Adam Moffat got the better of their Chicago counterparts, winning balls, keep possession and buzzing around the field.
"In the first half, I thought the midfield was very good," Kinnear said. "Possessing the ball, defending and closing down gaps and getting on to second balls; I thought they played very well."
Second half start huge
Coming off an excellent first half the Dynamo were intent to continue the good work coming out of the locker room. The plan materialized immediately as Clark, Carr and Bruin connected for the game-winner just a minute into the second half.
"We wanted to come out and dictate from the whistle and I think we scored within the first minute," Carr said. "It really came from just pressing in their own back line and we were able to get a turnover and a quick goal. Obviously that ended up being the winner."
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.