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Will Bruin has another chance to dismantle the Dynamo

Will Bruin is loving life with the Sounders and loving starts against his former club — the forward has scored in three starts against Houston.

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Seattle Sounders at Houston Dynamo Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders forward Will Bruin is looking forward to squaring off against his former team when Seattle hosts the Houston Dynamo on Monday. It has been nearly a year since the Sounders and Houston last met in the Western Conference finals in 2017.

“Four games left, two of them against Houston,” Bruin said Wednesday. “They’re a dangerous team. You know this league. Anything can happen. They’re very explosive, offensively, I think if we can dictate the game and be smart with possession, we’re going to get our opportunities. It’s just a matter of converting them.”

Bruin, who left Houston after being subjected to much criticism, has found a new home in Seattle. The forward has scored in all three of his starts against Houston, including a goal in each leg of the conference finals. He also scored the game-winner against the Dynamo — while playing with a rather significant arm brace — when they visited last June.

The striker said he appreciates playing with the high expectations in Seattle.

“I love it, personally,” Bruin said. “I think if you let losing or not making the playoffs become acceptable, then you can fall into a trap of, ‘oh, it’s alright. Next year, next year.’ The fact that it’s not OK and that we don’t accept it, we’re right in the way this club is. It’s a great mentality to have and it’s a winning mentality. It’s still early in the history of this club, but it’s off to a great start.”

Other changes have been more mundane, like Seattle’s emphasis on tracking bio-metric data.

“It’s tough to answer (about the differences between the clubs) with how far the league has evolved from my first few years to now,” he said. “The first thing that comes to mind here is the sports science stuff and the data that comes along with the training and prepping to the game to make sure you’re physically ready. Whereas my first few years in Houston (with Dominic Kinnear), he was very old school: ‘How do you feel? You’d better feel good for the game.’

“Here it’s more analytical. It’s good and bad. Sometimes they tell you can’t do extra because you’ve had a hard work load and you feel like you can, but at the end of the day they’re looking out for your best interests. It’s why I feel that we’re relatively healthy for the most part right now and guys are feeling good.”

With Raul Ruidiaz’ status for Monday still up in the air — the game technically falls on the first day of the FIFA international window and he’s been called up to Peru — Bruin may have the opportunity to turn in another big performance against his former club.