Houston Dynamo's Will Bruin back at training after ankle injury, expected to start vs. Philadelphia

HOUSTON – It’s been a short week for the Houston Dynamo, going from a Sunday game in Seattle to a Friday home game against the Philadelphia Union (9 pm ET; NBCSN, stream on NBCSports.com, TSN2). For forward Will Bruin, the hope is that it’s just enough to keep him in the starting lineup.

Bruin missed the second half of Sunday’s 2-0 loss to the Sounders with a right ankle injury. Back on the training pitch Thursday, he and the coaching staff are hoping that his positive progress continues and when game time comes it’ll be business as usual.

“He says every day’s getting a little bit better,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “He’s an important part of our team, and as far as I know he’s starting unless I know of something different.”

Bruin said he got through the session unscathed.

“First full training of the week, and we’ll talk to Dom later and see how it is,” Bruin told MLSsoccer.com.

Bruin picked up the ankle injury on a blocked shot by Djimi Traore that eventually led to a penalty kick.

“I was trying to go through it with my toes, and he cleared it and my ankle pretty much went straight down,” Bruin said. “So it’s my front ligaments that are really sore and tender, but it’s progressing each day.”

Houston would be well-served to keep Bruin in the lineup. The striker has been in good form recently, scoring in the two games leading up to the Seattle match to run his total to a team-best eight goals. The pair of strikes were the result of hustle and getting in good position to capitalize on mistakes.

After going through an eight-game scoreless streak, which corresponded with a team dry-spell, the recent turn of events was a welcomed sight. Without Bruin in the second half Sunday, the Dynamo struggled to create the same type of chances they did in the first half and in the previous two weeks.

“We had them on the ropes and we kind of let them off the hook a little bit,” Bruin said of the Seattle match. “It’s been the story of our season. We’ve just got to get that killer instinct, and we can’t keep wasting opportunities because if we don’t the playoffs will come and we won’t be in them.”

Part of what was missing was his link-up play with strike partner Giles Barnes. Also there was the factor of the Sounders pushing the game and controlling the ball more as they looked for the home win.

Either way, keeping Bruin out of the training room long-term obviously benefits the Dynamo.

The club carries just four forwards and had to make a last-minute call to Jason Johnson on Sunday to join the club from USL PRO affiliate Pittsburgh Riverhounds, when Omar Cummings could not make the game for off-field reasons.

“Omar was just something he needed to stay behind for, and it was a last minute recall for J.J.,” Kinnear said. “We’ll make sure we have a forward available on the bench. We’ll see which one it is.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.