HOUSTON - APRIL 29: Forward Will Bruin #12 of the Houston Dynamo celebrates after scoring his second goal in the first half against D.C. United at Robertson Stadium on April 29, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Will Bruin has been close to having multiple goal games a couple times in his short MLS career. On Friday night at Robertson Stadium, the rookie finally broke through and netted his first career hat trick as the Dynamo downed DC United 4-1.
Houston got things started early after Geoff Cameron tracked back hard, stealing the ball away and quickly turning to find Will Bruin who was all alone to the left of goal. Bruin had Cam Weaver open on the right and despite the frantic gestures from Weaver, Bruin chose to go it alone and slid the ball bast a diving Bill Hamid.
The Dynamo were all over the DC defense early as the back line was over rotating and double teaming Dynamo attackers, leaving space that Houston was able to exploit for chances. It was very similar to what we saw from United in their 4-0 dismantling at the hands of the New York Red Bulls. The pressure faded as the minute went on and DC was able to settle and test Tally Hall.
In the 10th minute, Hall made an alert play, breaking off his line and taking the ball off Charlie Davies foot before the forward could react. Three minutes later, Hall was called on again for another save, this time denying Chris Pontius' header with a full extension save.
Close call in the 35th minute after Chris Pontius beat Freeman with a nice change of direction and the fullback recovered late and missed the ball with his tackle. The DC bench wanted a penalty, but the replay showed there was little contact and if anything, Pontius was anticipating the tackle rather than trying to play through. Had he tried to step over the tackle and gone down, it would have been a certain penalty.
DC got on the board in the 39th minute after a handball gave United a free kick just outside the box. After a decoy and two quick touches on the ball, Marc Burch unleashed a low shot that found its way through the Dynamo defense and just got past the diving Hall. The well designed set piece caused the Dynamo wall to break apart and create several screens that have Hall virtually no chance of seeing the ball and making a save. It will definitely be a moment the coaches will refer back to in training this week.
Before DC could even enjoy their goal, the Dynamo struck again. Brad Davis chased a ball down the left, sending it across goal to the charging Will Bruin who headed it home for his second goal of the match. It was a fantastic response after allowing a disappointing equalizer.
The first ten minutes of the second half were all DC United. The addition of Andy Najar in place of Fred, gave DC an instant boost and help generate several good chances for United. Houston spent all their time chasing DC and when they were finally able to get some possession, there were extremely wasteful giving away the ball thanks to some sloppy and lackadaisical passing.
Dynamo finally picked up the play after DC's fast start and after a couple close calls on heavy passes that attackers couldn't quite reach, Houston took advantage of a set piece set up by a Charlie Davies foul.
Brad Davis, as usual, sent a smooth free kick in to the box and it was never a matter of if Houston would score, but who would get the goal. Four players went up with next to no resistance from DC, but it was man of the match Will Bruin who got his head on the ball and completed his first career MLS hat trick.
Cam Weaver clearly had seen enough from his strike partner and joined in the fun five minutes after Bruin completed his hat trick. Hunter Freeman took a throw-in from the midfield line and caught the DC defense sleeping, finding Cam Weaver on a breakaway down the wing. Weaver settled the ball nicely, and beat Hamid making it 4-1. It was a shocking defensive breakdown, but the Dynamo won't complain.
Scary moment in the 66th minute as DC's Dejan Jakovic made a hard tackle on Geoff Cameron that sent the Dynamo midfielder down and nearly crashing in to a table on the sideline. Cameron stayed down for several minutes but finally was able to get to his feet and return to the match. Jakovic was shown yellow for the tackle and left Dynamo fans nervous as they waited for Cameron to get up.
Both of the Dynamo's new signings made their MLS debuts tonight. Je-Vaughan came on for Colin Clark in the 72nd minute and in the 86th minute, Sergio Koke replaced Cam Weaver to a huge cheer from the Robertson Stadium crowd.
The victory puts the Dynamo in first place in the Eastern Conference...at least for tonight.