With nine goals in the first half of the Major League Soccer season, Houston's Will Bruin has quietly become one of the league's most prolific scorers.
The second-year forward has scored a goal every other game for the Houston Dynamo, spearheading their attack. After an inconsistent first year in MLS, Bruin stated that he wanted to be more aggressive this season.
"I think the biggest difference between this year and last is that I look at things like it's not good enough," Bruin told Goal.com. "I want teams to focus on me and say, 'He's going to be an offensive threat.' I want to stay as a consistent goal scorer on an every game basis."
Bruin admits that his first year in MLS was a difficult transition. Arriving to the Dynamo from Indiana University pushed the then 21-year-old into a completely different lifestyle than what he was used to in college.
"When I was playing in college, soccer was just something I did," Bruin said. "I went to classes, chilled with friends and then I played. Now, soccer is much more serious as a professional -- have to practice, get treatment. It's my sole focus. That took some getting used to."
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Once Bruin started playing, he had an early moment of brilliance that might have been costly to his development. Up against D.C. United, Bruin dominated the opposition's defense, netting a hat trick. The rookie was elated and he celebrated with family and friends.
Bruin thought he had arrived on the big stage. Big mistake.
The game against D.C. was a false dawn for the young forward, as he would only score two more goals in the entire season. Bruin learned an important lesson from that instant.
"If I scored a hat trick now, I'd just be like, 'It happened, I'm over it,'" Bruin said. "Onto the next game and don't dwell on it."
He added, "This year, I'm not being content. I'm trying to stay levelheaded."
Another dilemma for Bruin was playing behind the shadows of MLS legendary striker Brian Ching. Both players are taller forwards who like to play as target men and Bruin said it is still an adjustment trying to play with the 11-year MLS veteran.
"Sometimes it is, because we both try to do the same thing. Like literally, we're trying to do the same thing on the field. We're trying to read each other," Bruin explained.
In being more assertive this season, Bruin has deferred less to Ching this season and its has resulted in him being tied for fourth in the MLS scoring charts, placing him with the likes of Thierry Henry, Danny Kovermans and Chris Pontius.
Still, Bruin admires Ching and has praised the positive impact that the 34-year-old has made through keen advice.
"He's trying to teach me the little things that will advance my career," Bruin said.
Bruin hopes to have another attribute in common with Ching, a shot with the United States national team. Bruin hasn't heard from U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann yet but he is hoping his form continues to grab the German's attention.
"I still got a lot of work to do," said Bruin. "But yeah, I'd definitely like to [be a part of the U.S. national team]."