Dynamo striker Will Bruin’s numbers were decent enough in 2013 (he finished the regular season with eight goals), but after a terrible slump in the middle of the season saw the third year forward score twice in 15 games, ‘avoid a scoring slump’ became an obligatory entry in every Houston preview. If Bruin gets back to his 2012 self (12 goals, 32 games), the Dynamo will have the type of threat they need to compete at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Approaching halftime of the season opener in Houston, it’s so far, so good for the two-time U.S. international. Two minutes into the Dynamo’s visit from New England, Bruin volleyed home after cross from fullback Kofie Sardokie to give his team an early lead:
Just after the quarter-hour mark, Bruin doubled Houston’s edge, sliding onto a cross at the far post to give Houston a 2-0 lead.
Things quickly got worse for New England, who found themselves down three when Boniek Garcia scored in the 23rd minute. After putting together one of the league’s best defenses in 2013, Jay Heaps saw his team give away the opener before the half-hour mark, with a late goal from Omar Cumming sending the Revolution to a 4-0 loss.
For Houston, however, one of the season’s two big questions has been answered. At least, the early returns are good. While Dominic Kinnear will have to wait a little longer before he’ll know whether David Horst and Jermaine Taylor can form a strong partnership at the back, his attack has turned back the clock. This is the Will Bruin we was saw in 2012.
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.