Will Bruin and the Houston Dynamo sent a warning shot to any doubters on Saturday night, opening the 2014 season by routing the New England Revolution 4-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Bruin scored two goals and assisted on Boniek García’s first of the season within the first half hour to put the game away early as New England's defense got off to a calamitous start. Omar Cummings deflected a teammate's shot in stoppage time to give Houston a 4-0, the third straight year the Dynamo have opened with a shutout.
It took Bruin just 64 seconds to give Houston the lead. After redirecting the ball to the right wing, Kofi Sarkodie sent the ball back to the 6-foot-2 forward. With Revolution centerback Jose Goncalves lunging for the ball and missing, Bruin was left alone to settle and strike a half volley across goal for his 2014 opener.
Just 12 minutes later Bruin struck again and it was another New England mistake that opened the door. Scott Caldwell played a lazy ball wide that the opportunistic Corey Ashe picked off to ignite a quick attack. The left back sent an arching to the back post for Bruin, who was wide open again, and finished with a sliding effort to make it 2-0 after just 13 minutes.
To complete the first-half Dynamo trifecta, Bruin switched roles, charging up the field while shrugging off two Revs defenders to set up García in the box. The Honduran made no mistake with his finish to make it a 3-0 rout heading into halftime.
The Revs, who struck the post before the break on a set-piece header by A.J. Soares, had a great look in the 60th minute when Diego Fagundez played Kelyn Rowe in front of goal with a cheeky flick, but the effort was for nothing as the central midfielder’s half volley was skied over goal. New England second-half sub Jerry Bengtson did the same just seven minutes later, except his shot came from point-blank range.
With the Revs bringing on another attacker in Saer Sene, spaces opened up for Houston and if not for goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, the victory would have resembled a tennis score. Shuttleworth stopped Bruin and Omar Cummings in separate 1-v-1 opportunities, while diving to stop a curling shot by Andrew Driver, who came on for an injured Tony Cascio.
There was nothing Shuttleworth could do in stoppage time when Ricardo Clark’s arching shot deflected off Cummings head for the final tally.
The Dynamo stay home next week to play 2013 playoff opponent, the Montreal Impact, while New England travel back to the Northeast to visit the Philadelphia Union.
Houston Dynamo (1-0-0; 3 points) vs. New England Revolution (0-1-0; 0 points)
MLS regular season
March 8, 2014 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Attendance: 22,320 (sellout)
Houston: Will Bruin 1 (Kofi Sarkodie 1) 2
Houston: Will Bruin 2 (Corey Ashe 1) 13
Houston: Boniek García 1 (Will Bruin 1) 23
Houston: Omar Cummings 1 (Ricardo Clark 1) 90+2
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Corey Ashe; Tony Cascio (Andrew Driver 57), Ricardo Clark, Boniek García, Brad Davis; Will Bruin (Mark Sherrod 89) Giles Barnes (Omar Cummings 78)
Unused substitutes: Tyler Deric, Jason Johnson, A.J. Cochran, Alexander López
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth; Kevin Alston (Darrius Barnes 20), Jose Goncalves, A.J Soares, Chris Tierney; Scott Caldwell; Patrick Mullins (Jerry Bengtson 46), Kelyn Rowe, Daigo Kobayashi (Saer Sene 74), Diego Fagundez; Teal Bunbury
Unused substitutes: Brad Knighton, Andy Dorman, Donald Smith, Steve Neumann
NE: Darrius Barnes (caution) 64
HOU: Will Bruin (caution) 64
NE: A.J. Soares (caution) 77
Referee: Jorge Luna Hernandez
Assistant Referees: Israel Fernandez, Marcos de Oliveira
Fourth official: Bernard Hosu