SEATTLE (AP) — Victor Rodriguez and Will Bruin haven’t played as many minutes as they would have liked in the past few months. Both were on the field for all 90 Monday night and made the most of their opportunity.
Rodriguez scored two goals in the second half as the Seattle Sounders defeated the Houston Dynamo 4-1.
Bruin and Cristian Roldan added first-half goals for Seattle, which moved closer to an MLS playoff spot with the win.
The Sounders (15-11-5) are trying for their 10th straight postseason berth. The loss eliminated Houston (9-14-8) from playoff contention.
Rodriguez has been limited to just 16 games due to injuries. He went the distance and scored a goal in a 4-0 rout of Colorado on Sept. 29 in Seattle, then followed up with another full game and Monday’s two goals.
“I’m very happy for today and for the goals. I’ve worked a lot every day,” Rodriguez said. “For me, the situation was complicated, but I feel better. Now I’ve had a great performance and have to keep working.”
With Seattle leading 2-0, Rodriguez doubled the lead with two goals in a nine-minute span.
The first of Rodriguez’s goals came in the 64th minute. Kelvin Leerdam, playing to the right of the penalty area, passed the ball into the middle of the box and Rodriguez buried a shot in the back left corner from about 8 yards out.
Rodriguez scored again in the 73rd minute when he found space between two Dynamo defenders and again scored from 8 yards in front. He has four goals this season.
“He has just found a really good run of form – we saw it coming a while back,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “He has put a lot of work and effort into his rehab when he has been injured. He’s reaping the benefits of being a good pro now, and we’re happy it’s happening at the tail end of the season when he can be at his peak and help us tremendously.”
Bruin, whose playing time has diminished since the midseason signing of Ligz Mx star Raul Ruidiaz, got the start on Monday with Ruidiaz having been called up to the Peruvian national team for an upcoming pair of international friendlies. He responded by scoring his seventh goal of the season in the 18th minute, drilling a 13-yard shot from just behind the penalty spot and into the back left corner.
“I’ve scored goals every year in this league. As the league brings in higher quality players, a lot of them are attackers, and I have to kind of evolve my game as well,” Bruin said. “And I think I’ve done that throughout the years. Whenever I get opportunities, I’m going to do my job and try to score goals.”
Roldan made it 2-0 in the 34th minute his fourth of the year.
DaMarcus Beasey scored in the 87th minute for Houston, his first of the year. The Dynamo thought they had a goal from Darwin Ceren late in the first half. But the whistle had blown for a foul on a Houston player in front of the Seattle net before Ceren took his shot.
“If you go into halftime and it’s 2-1 (instead of 2-0), it’s totally different,” said coach Wilmer Cabrera, whose team was missing 11-goal scorer Alberth Elis to international duty. “We were really poor defensively, and you pay for it. It has been a tough year for us.”