In the past 285 minutes of Major League Soccer matches, the Seattle Sounders have tallied two goals.
That is not the bang-for-your-buck scoring ratio coach Brian Schmetzer is looking for with his attack, given his control-possession philosophy.
The Sounders are in a bit of a scoring funk as they head out for a showdown Sunday at the Los Angeles Galaxy, the Western Conference goal-scoring leader the past three seasons.
In the past three matches — at home against Atlanta, and at San Jose and Vancouver — Seattle has maintained possession of the ball longer than its opponent.
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During that span, the Sounders are 0-1-2.
When it comes to finishing off possessions, forward Jordan Morris assessed it succinctly: “We almost rush it too much.”
And yet, sitting on the Sounders’ bench is the guy leading the league in goals-per-minute ratio for multiple goal scorers: Veteran Will Bruin.
Bruin, who was traded by Houston to the Sounders in December in exchange for allocation money, has scored two goals in nearly 52 minutes of action off the bench.
Both of Bruin’s goals have come in the final minutes of matches — in extra time of a 2-2 tie at Montreal in early March, and in the 89th minute of a 2-1 loss at Vancouver on Friday night.
“When you’re on the bench, you can kind of sit back and look at the game, and see how to do things, as opposed to playing the full 90 minutes, and then go back and watch the film,” Bruin said. “It gives you a different perspective. It has helped me to see what I’ve got to do in my game when I am on the field.”
This week, Schnetzer said the club is examining ways to get Bruin — who scored 50 career goals for the Dynamo before coming to Seattle — more minutes.
“Of course I want more minutes,” Bruin said. “The competitive side in me wants to play every minute of every game — and win. It makes you feel part of the team when you are contributing a lot, or even contributing a little bit off the bench.”
The question is, how do the Sounders find Bruin more opportunities?
They could shift the personnel in their 4-2-3-1 lineup by moving Jordan Morris out to the wing — he did play outside a bit last season — and having Bruin play up top at forward. That would also likely mean putting midfielder Harry Shipp on the bench.
“(Bruin) is a very good player — good in the (penalty) box,” Morris said. “In late-game situations, especially when we are dumping a lot of balls in the box, his movement is good. His finishing is very good. He knows where to be. He is in the right spots, and when he gets the opportunity, he puts it away.”
Take his goal Friday as an example: After midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro corralled a loose ball on the right wing, he unleashed a cross toward the front of the Whitecaps’ goal.
Seeing the pass, Bruin sprinted through two Vancouver defenders, and volleyed the pass with his right foot inside the right post for the goal.
“I am a poaching forward, and you are going to score goals that way,” Bruin said. “And I am getting in the box, and getting on the end of crosses. We’ve got a lot of playmakers, so I am letting them do their thing, and then trying to finish off plays.”
Whatever the case may be for Sunday, it is evident Bruin deserves more playing time — as a starter or reserve.
“I know I can score goals,” Bruin said. “And I have a lot more years of scoring goals in this league. I’ve spent my whole career proving that to people.”