HOUSTON – Year 2 was really, really good for Will Bruin. The big Dynamo forward improved upon his rookie outing in goals, assists, chances and minutes. He set a club record for goals across all competitions. He played in MLS Cup. And he capped it all off with his first US national team camp and cap.
So how does he plan to build on that? First and foremost, he plans on forgetting it.
“I’ve looked back at it and said, ‘Yeah, it’s a good year,’ but then I bring myself back down and tell myself it’s in the past,” Bruin told MLSsoccer.com. “I always want to challenge myself to surpass what I did the previous year. So yes, I look back and say it’s a good year after my first year but I know I can do better.”
A short memory is valuable for any forward, when times are good or bad. Bruin learned that lesson the hard way in his rookie season when he let early success take over.
Doing better for Bruin is not about stats; instead it is about technique and adding to his skill-set. He’s the first to admit his game is far from a finished product – his movement off the ball and his ability to hold the ball and distribute are just a few of the areas he wants to improve.
A major goal on the list is making his left foot a bigger part of his repertoire, something he knows will be important as the league is fully aware of how dangerous he can be in front of goal and have more tape to figure out how to defend him.
“I want to be less predictable. I know scoring goals is what you have to do, but I want to be able to go to my left more confidently,” Bruin said. “I want to have a really good first touch. I want to be more explosive and make more than one or two runs in the box and get in good spots to score.”
Helping Bruin on that trek is his time with the national team. The striker gained confidence across the board, and while he is putting it all together, he’s still trying to be pragmatic about how he is approaching his success.
“I think Will’s smart enough to know to keep doing what he’s good at and he doesn’t have to be something that he’s not,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “He’s continued to get better and hasn’t let it go to his head.
“Last year he did a lot of succeeding and scored some big goals for us. I expect the same this year.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.