Will Bruin continued his dominance over D.C. United on Wednesday night, scoring two goals and assisting on two others to lead the Houston Dynamo to a 4-0 victory.
Bruin, who now has four goals this season, has scored nine times in nine career appearances against United. He notched the first multi-goal game of his career with a hat trick in a 4-1 win over United in Houston on April 29, 2011.
"I guess it's just a confidence thing," Bruin said with a smile. "I should be playing like that against every team."
Giles Barnes and Andrew Driver also scored as the Dynamo (6-2-2) won their second straight road game in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals.
D.C. United (1-7-1) was shut out for the fourth time in five games and has lost six straight for only the second time in club history (2006-07). United's home losing streak stands at four since its 17-game home unbeaten streak ended against Columbus on March 23.
After Brad Davis won an aerial challenge at midfield in the early going, Boniek Garcia found a streaking Bruin. Bruin was able to sidestep a lunging Dejan Jakovic before eventually chipping United goalie Bill Hamid with a deft right footed touch in the 16th minute for a 1-0 lead.
"That's one thing we knew that if we could get on them early their heads would go down and maybe they wouldn't have as much fight," Bruin said about the importance of an early goal against a struggling side.
Houston doubled its lead 12 minutes later thanks to some help from United and with Bruin again being the focal point.
After receiving a back pass from Jakovic, Hamid's clearance attempt barely made its way outside the six-yard box and fell right to the feet of Bruin. From there, Bruin looked up and slid a pass to his left, allowing Barnes to send the ball into the back of the net.
Barnes would leave the game in the 36th minute with a right hamstring injury. The forward was replaced by former US international Brian Ching.
United's best two chances came off the same play midway through the second half. After a well-placed corner kick, Dwayne DeRosario looked close to scoring twice in the 63rd, but both times Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie cleared the ball off the Houston line.
United is off to its worst start since 2010 when it opened 1-8. That was also the season in which current head coach and former player Ben Olsen took over for an ineffective Curt Onalfo.
"Is my job on the line?" Olen said. "It better be. I'm the leader of this team, but I have faith in what I'm doing, and I'll continue to go about my work."
With United pressing for most of the second half, Houston was able to counter with success as Bruin added his second goal of the game in the 78th and then again in the 88th when Driver easily tapped in a Bruin pass for his third goal of the season.
After scoring a career-best 12 goals last season, Bruin had been stuck on just two through eight appearances this season
"It was just a matter of time," he said. "I knew I had been playing well and contributing in the offense and just not getting goals."