Will Bruin was the goalscoring hero for the Sounders with his 69th minute header on Sunday evening against his only former professional club, the Houston Dynamo. Bruin, who spent the last six seasons in Houston, said that scoring against his former club only made his winning header that much “sweeter.”
At first Bruin played a bit coy on his feelings toward scoring the winner, pointing reporters in the locker room after the match towards the big smile on his face. But if his celebration after scoring was any indication, he was more than happy to savor the moment.
Bruin said that he was initially hoping to just savor the moment, with the flames shooting above the goal and the Brougham End going nuts, but his lingering in the goal was a little parting shot to the men in orange. “It was awesome, I tried to just take it in a little bit. I kinda stayed in the net because it was Houston.”
After thanking the crowd and stepping out of the goal, Bruin fired the crowd up even more with a double-thumbs up, a reference to the gesture he made at a referee back in April. “it was fun, it was cool, seeing how loud they were. And then when I gave them the two thumbs up, I could tell it got a little wilder.”
Despite snagging the goal and earning man of the match for a solid overall performance, Bruin is still trying to get back to 100% after dislocating his elbow a few weeks ago. He said he’s feeling much better, but he can’t full extend his arm, which is why he wore a brace on Sunday that helped prevent the arm from trying to overextend. “The training staff did a really good job of making sure the swelling got out quick.” Bruin said he’s still got a ways to go, but in situations like tonight, he’s “going to err on the side of playing.”
He could tell that his former teammates were targeting him from the first minute, but he did his best to ignore it. “I think in the first few minutes I could tell they were going out of their way to grab and pull at [his arm].” The injury also made it hard for Bruin to play how he likes—physically. “I was telling some of the trainers at halftime that I don’t have my full strength at pushing off and holding guys.” Since he’s a lefty and it was his left elbow that was injured, he had to start figuring out ways to push off and tussle with defenders with his other arm. “It was kind of different, I’m trying to use my whole body and my right arm.”
As for the goal itself, Bruin credited his teammates, especially Cristian Roldan, who fired an exquisite cross straight across the face of goal. “Cristian literally put it right on my head,” he said. “If I’d have missed that, I’d start questioning my career.” Luckily for him and the Sounders, he left no doubt and headed the ball right into the back of the net to seal three points.