HOUSTON - On the back of rookie Will Bruin's hat trick, the Houston Dynamo took care of D.C. United, 4-1, at home on Friday night to temporarily take the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Bruin scored twice in the first half and once more in the second to become the first Dynamo rookie to notch a hat trick. Fellow forward Cam Weaver added the Dynamo's fourth, also in the second half.
United's lone goal of the match came off a free kick from defender Marc Burch.
Bruin kicked off his banner night early on in the match. With the clock barely striking the fourth minute of play, the striker capitalized on some great play in the midfield by Geoff Cameron, who dispossessed DC midfielder Clyde Simms and slotted through a nice ball to Bruin. The rookie collected the ball and calmly finished near-post past a closing Bill Hamid.
Over the 20 minutes that followed, both teams got off some nice chances but struggled to take control of the match.
DC finally broke through in the 39th minute, when Burch equalized for the visitors on a well-crafted free kick from 25 yards out. Fred cleared out space in the Dynamo wall and Josh Wolff set up a low, powerfu blast from Burch that beat 'keeper Tally Hall to the near corner.
The tie, though, lasted for just two minutes. After gaining possession in midfield, Cameron sent a through ball to Brad Davis out on the left flank and Davis curled in a cross from the end line. Bruin beat fellow rookie Perry Kitchen to find space in the box and blast a header home for his second on the night.
Down by just one goal at the start of the second half, DC took the initiative, challenging the Dynamo with some early chances. United midfielder Chris Pontius almost equalized on a nice shot set up by second half sub Andy Najar, but it was blocked by a sliding Andre Hainault.
Despite losing the possession battle early in the second 45, the Dynamo used their set piece advantage in the 57th minute, when Bruin again rose above a helpless Kitchen to head home his final goal of the evening, this time off a Davis free kick to put the score at 3-1.
Weaver capped the scoring in the 62nd minute, when he took advantage of an embarassing mistake by the DC backline to slam home his team's fourth goal. A long throw in from Hunter Freeman found Weaver in an advanced position. With acres of space in front of him, Weaver controlled the ball and fired a shot into the roof of the net.
In addition to the four goals, the Dynamo had another bit of good news when Brian Ching came on in the 81st minute to replace Bruin. Joining Ching was the Dynamo's newest acquisition, Koke, who made his MLS debut when he came on for Weaver.
Over on the DC side of the pitch, Jed Zayner went off with an apparent left leg injury and was replaced by Home Grown player Ethan White at the hour mark.
The win moved the Dynamo into first place Eastern conference with 12 points ahead of weekend play in MLS. They will host the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night.
D.C. United remain on 7 points and will host the Seattle Sounders, also on Wednesday night.
HOU -- Will Bruin 2 (Geoff Cameron 1) 4
DC -- Marc Burch 1 (Dax McCarty 1, Josh Wolff 1) 39
HOU -- Will Bruin 3 (Brad Davis 5, Geoff Cameron 2) 41
HOU -- Will Bruin 4 (Brad Davis 6) 57
HOU -- Cam Weaver 3 (Hunter Freeman 1) 62
DC -- Dejan Jakovic (caution; Reckless Foul) 66
D.C. United -- Bill Hamid, Jed Zayner (Ethan White 61), Dejan Jakovic, Perry Kitchen, Marc Burch, Fred (Andy Najar 47), Dax McCarty, Clyde Simms, Chris Pontius, Charlie Davies, Josh Wolff (Santino Quaranta 84).
Substitutes Not Used: Blake Brettschneider, Chris Korb, Joseph Ngwenya, Steve Cronin.
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Colin Clark (Je-Vaughn Watson 71), Geoff Cameron, Lovel Palmer, Brad Davis, Cam Weaver (Koke 84), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 81).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Chabala, Eddie Robinson, Kofi Sarkodie, Tyler Deric.
Referee: Jasen Anno
Referee's Assistants: -C.J. Morgante; Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Landis Wiley
Weather: Clear and 78 degrees