HOUSTON – After Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Union, Will Bruin questioned why the Houston Dynamo needed a wake-up call to get their attack going. He didn't on Wednesday.
Houston controlled the flow of their game vs. Sporting Kansas City from the start, dominating possession for the balance of the first 70 minutes. Bruin took care of the pay-off in the 67th minute, tapping in a sitter that helped give his club a much-needed 1-0 win despite going down a man with 20 minutes to play.
“Lot of guys wanted to make sure we were prepared from the minute we walked into the stadium,” Bruin said. “There was no, ‘Oh [expletive] you’ve got to wake up a minute into the game.' You see what happened in Philadelphia, a game we needed to win and we don’t. We get scored on in two minutes and that’s from front to back.
“Tonight we were more organized and compact from front to back. When we’re in good shape like that, you saw they didn’t have many chances.”
After two rough outings Bruin, head coach Owen Coyle, and the club wanted to see a response and got it controlling a Kansas City team that never truly entered the match.
Despite a bumpy field that made even the simplest trap difficult, Houston were able to pass and move in a way the club has seen only in spurts this year.
“I think we were outstanding tonight and dominated the game,” Coyle said. “That’s got to be the same every week. That’s got to be standard and got to be the level moving forward. Not talking just the passing and moving of the ball, but the application and desire and everything that was so evident.”
While the movement was good, pulling the trigger took some time. Both teams failed to notch a shot on goal in the first half, but Houston began to find a rhythm at the start of the second half and chances came as a result.
In the 67th minute, after sharp work from DaMarcus Beasley, Bruin found himself in a position to open the scoring.
“Just make sure you put it in. Just don’t miss the goal and don’t hit it in the stands,” Bruin said when asked about his 11th goal of the season, which ties him with three others for the third-best regular season output in club history. “That sums up how well we took care of the ball and how many times we got crosses in. That’s justice for me the way we scored that goal. Those are my favorite goals.”
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Houston managed to overcome Boniek Garcia’s 70th-minute ejection – making it all four games this year against Sporting KC that the Dynamo have seen a red card – and closed out the game. That's something they did not do earlier this season against KC in a 4-4 draw and at other times as well.
While the Dynamo are on the outside of the playoff race looking in, the win puts them three points out of sixth place in the Western Conference. There are three teams between them and that spot, so they’ll need a lot of help to make the climb.
Still, Houston know they are in the fight.
“I’ve seen crazier things in this league,” Bruin said. “Personally I hate having to get help from other teams, but that’s just the way it is right now. Tonight was a must-win and we got it. It doesn’t matter how you get it, just that we got it.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.