With forward Raúl Ruidíaz sidelined with a hamstring injury, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer started fellow veteran Fredy Montero last week in a 1-1 draw with LAFC. This Saturday, however, Schmetzer opted for the more out-and-out No. 9 in Bruin, and the 32-year-old delivered.
“I wasn’t worried when Raúl went down,” said Schmetzer. “Raúl is our No. 1 guy, but I have complete faith in both Fredy and Will. Last time Will had a run-out, he scored a goal in Austin. Will has been active in training. He’s deserved of a chance and a little bit of a squad rotation for us in a three-game week.”
Bruin’s goal was his second of the year and was a tremendous finish to excellent buildup play from the Sounders’ back line. Bruin read the intentions of Cristian Roldan, who lifted a perfect ball to the far post for Bruin to rise and head it back across the goalkeeper for the eventual match-winner.
The Sounders altered their modus operandi with Bruin leading the line instead of Montero, who is more comfortable dropping in deeper to be on the ball and play as a facilitator. With Bruin, they know they have someone who’s going to stay higher and throw himself at everything that is sent into the 18-yard box.
“Normally we try and attack the prime assist zones as often as we can, but then we also had to remember that today Will is a true target forward, a true No. 9, and that first goal was exactly that,” said Schmetzer. “That was such a good goal, and true to who Will is.”
Bruin, who is now in his 12th MLS season and sixth in Seattle, is a proven goalscorer in this league and showed yet again how valuable he is for Schmetzer & Co. He pushed his career tally mark to 76 and may be called upon yet again on Wednesday when the Sounders host CF Montréal (7 p.m. PT; FOX 13+, Prime Video, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS) to close their five-match homestand.
“Some of the starts I’ve had have been big rotations in the lineup, so it was nice to get a start with most of the full First Team,” said Bruin. “I know I can score goals, and that was all I was focusing on. I’m happy we got the three points.”