KENNESAW, Ga. – Rookie forward Will Bruin scored a pair of goals two minutes apart midway through the first half to lead the Houston Dynamo to a 3-1 win over the New England Revolution in both clubs’ preseason finale on Sunday afternoon at Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium.
Revolution forward Zack Schilawski briefly cut the deficit in half with his second goal of the preseason in the 89th minute, but Alex Dixon hit back just seconds later to provide the final score line.
The Revs closed their preseason schedule with a record of 4-2-0 following a pair of losses in the Atlanta Pro Soccer Challenge. New England opened the competition with a 3-1 loss to the Columbus Crew last Wednesday night.
With next weekend’s season opener against the LA Galaxy top priority, head coach Steve Nicol opted to rest center back Franco Coria (R hamstring) and goalkeeper Matt Reis (back) for precautionary reasons as both are carrying minor knocks. Former Dynamo defender Ryan Cochrane and third-year backup Bobby Shuttleworth replaced the duo in the starting lineup.
Meanwhile, reigning club MVP Marko Perovic returned to partner Ilija Stolica in attack after sitting out the recent Crew loss as a preventative measure with hamstring stiffness.
After a quiet opening, the action sprang to life just past the half-hour mark when Bruin scored a pair of sublime goals in a span of two minutes.
The opening goal arrived in the 31st minute when Bruin latched onto a loose ball in the box and sent a rocket into the upper right corner. Jermaine Taylor’s initial service to the back post was half-cleared by Chris Tierney, but Bruin was first to the ball and made the Revolution pay with a stellar finish past the helpless Shuttleworth.
Bruin upped the ante with an even better finish two minutes later, capping off a fine attacking move involving Andrew Hainault and Brad Davis. Space opened up down the left wing when Hainault sprang Davis with a searching ball, and Davis’ driven cross found Bruin for a first-time blast just inside the left post.
The Revs responded to the deficit by making three changes after the halftime break. Darrius Barnes, Kenny Mansally and Pat Phelan entered the match, replacing Cochrane, Ryan Kinne and Stephen McCarthy, respectively. A fourth substitution followed in the 61st minute when Schilawski replaced Stolica.
The moves seemed to spark the Revs, who began to push more frequently into the attacking third. Much of the play went through Perovic, who slipped a pass into the right side of the box for Nyassi in the 62nd minute only for Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall to charge off his line and smother the effort.
A flurry of activity closed the match as the teams traded goals in the 89th minute.
Schilawski put the Revolution on the board with an opportunistic finish, latching onto a loose ball six yards from goal after Tierney had the ball poked away by a Dynamo defender in the box. The second-year forward stretched to direct a left-footed shot low and inside the left post.
Houston hit back immediately, however, restoring its two-goal lead in a matter of seconds. Dominic Oduro burst down the left wing and fired a shot on target which Shuttleworth saved, but Dixon was on hand to tap the rebound in the vacated net.
The Revs will open their 2011 regular-season schedule next Sunday, March 20, on the road against the LA Galaxy. Kickoff from The Home Depot Center is set for 8 p.m. ET.
New England Revolution vs. Houston Dynanmo
March 13, 2011
Kennesaw State University Soccer Stadium (Kennesaw, Ga.)
HOU – Will Bruin (unassisted) 31
HOU – Will Bruin (Brad Davis, Andrew Hainault) 33
NE – Zack Schilawski (unassisted)
89 HOU – Alex Dixon (unassisted) 89
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Darrius Barnes 46), Zak Boggs, Ryan Kinne (Kenny Mansally 46), Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy (Pat Phelan 46), Sainey Nyassi, Marko Perovic, Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Kheli Dube, Michael Augustine, Andrew Sousa, Seth Sinovic, Otto Loewy
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall, Hunter Freeman, Andrew Hainault, Jermaine Taylor (Eddie Robinson 70), Kofi Sarkodie, Brad Davis (Jordan Graye 70), Geoff Cameron (Alex Dixon 61), Lovel Palmer (Mike Chabala 64), Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 61), Will Bruin (Dominic Oduro 61), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric
NE – A.J. Soares (caution) 25
HOU – Kofie Sarkodie (caution) 36
HOU – Lovel Palmer (caution) 55
HOU – Alex Dixon (caution) 84
Referee: Niko Bratsis
Assistant Referees: Mark Cleland, Patrick Baker
Fourth Official: Bret Sanner
Weather: Sunny, 65 degrees