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SBI Mid-Season MLS Most Improved Player: Will Bruin

Bruin (Getty)

After an up-and-down rookie campaign, Will Bruin has found a rhythm in 2012. 

The Houston Dynamo striker has scored nine goals in 17 appearances, claiming the up-for-grabs starting job alongside Brian Ching with authority and emerging as one of the league's most dangerous forwards. Plagued by injury and inconsistency, the Indiana product scored just five times last season.

Bruin was voted the most improved player in MLS through the first half of the season by SBI staff members, defeating candidates such as Columbus goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and the New York duo of forward Kenny Cooper and right back Brandon Barklage.

What are your thoughts on Bruin claiming the recognition? Should Gruenebaum, Cooper or Barklage have been given the honor? Or is there another player who has improved more?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I have seen very little of Bruin.

    Your comments make it sound as if he is a younger, fresher version of Brian Ching.

    How is his speed and mobility? Is he skilled enough on the ball to play in midfield? Is he a heady player or just another Steve Lenhart/ Conor Casey bruiser? How about his defense? Does he track back well? Is he a smart player?

    I ask because it is apparent to me that JK is moving towards players who have multi talented versatility, are super fit and super skilled and know how to read a game. It is what you are seeing from Spain, Germany and so on.

    If you are going to be an old fashioned center forward which I get the impression Bruin is,then he needs to be excellent in the air, score a hell of a lot of goals and be a tremendously disruptive physical presence in the final third, if he hopes to get any shot at the USMNT.

  2. Glad you liked it. I’ve been to nearly all the home games this year and I like what I see from him. Jeff (see below) is also right that the formation Houston played last week didn’t play to Bruin’s strengths.

    I would not be surprised if Bruin got called into “Camp Cupcake” next January for the USMNT.

  3. Thank you for the report, Ferris. Any time a young American player gets an opportunity to continue to improve in MLS, I consider that a good thing.

  4. He seems to be a bit lost with the new formation the last couple games. I thought he played well before but just wasn’t getting the time with lineups and injuries. So his stats are improved but I think he is basically the same guy he was before.

  5. Benjamin, I think Bruin might be ready for the USMNT if he keeps improving. His movement is good. He’s good in the air. He’s deceptively fast for his size. He still scuffs a few too many chances for my liking but he gets in enough good positions that he generates enough chances to score a bunch of goals. I actually think he and Ching don’t make the best pairing. Ching is craftier and a better passer, but are similar in many ways. I think Bruin might do better with a quicker forward as his partner.

    In sum: he’s good and getting better.

  6. As a person who does not get to see many Houston games, is Bruin worthy of a NT callup? In other words, do you think his game will translate?

  7. I would have gone with Cooper but I can understand bruin as a choice. Cooper has two more goals is the reason I would have gone with him.


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