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.
GOAL: Will Bruin heads home his second of the season
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.”