Ching injury mars Dynamo victory over RSL

Loss of striker could make three points costly for Houston

Brian Ching

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The Houston Dynamo may have gotten the proverbial three points
on Thursday night in the team’s hope opener, but an offense that created no
shots on goal in the run of play and a Brian Ching injury dampened the
festivities at Robertson Stadium as Houston defeated defending MLS Cup
champions Real Salt Lake 2-1.

Watch: Houston-Real Salt Lake Highlights

The first half was forgettable for the Dynamo. While the team didn't play poorly,
they were mis-clicking offensively on the night, particularly in the first half. Frustrations mounted even more when
Salt Lake jumped out to an early lead. Álvaro Saborío, after colliding with
Ryan Cochrane, fed teammate Javier Morales, who calmly beat Dynamo ‘keeper Pat
Onstad for his third goal in two games to give Salt Lake the lead. 

“I think we all know we didn’t start out the game well, we
started out flat,” midfielder Brad Davis said after the match. “I think the start to the second half was fantastic. We knew we needed to get back into the
game and the mentality coming out in the second half was proper and that’s what
we did.”

As if the early goal wasn’t bad enough, forward Brian Ching
suffered an injury to his hamstring and was replaced by Luis Ángel Landín in
the 31st minute. Ching
was unavailable to talk to the media after the game, but coach Dominic Kinnear
talked about the injury to his captain.

“I know it’s a hamstring and other than that we’ll find out
more,” Kinnear said. “I wish I
knew more. He said he felt
it pretty good.”

“Anytime you lose a key player like that, it’s tough,” left
back Mike Chabala said. “But we
have quality guys in the locker room. We were upset with how we performed and we didn’t play bad,
but we thought we could play better.”

The second half was a different story. The Dynamo came out and
put immediate pressure on Salt Lake. The extra pressure resulted in two penalties in less
than two minutes, both conceded by Salt Lake defender Jámison Olave. In both
cases, midfielder Brad Davis stepped up to the spot and calmly beat Real Salt
Lake ‘keeper Nick Rimando.

“Be confident and smash it,” Davis said about his penalty-taking
philosophy.  “[On the first one], I
knew he usually guesses and he took a couple of steps. I just wanted to smash it down the
middle and a little high where he couldn’t react to it. On the second one, I felt confident
going that way and just said be confident, and hit it hard to a corner and
that’s what I did.”

Still, the Dynamo had no shots on goal from the run of play, a
stat that upset the players despite getting the win.

“I think with Chingy hurt, we need a couple of guys to step
up,” Davis noted. “We all need to
do a better job of being better composed in the final third. Once we get in the final third, I think
[we felt] we have to go to goal immediately. I think we’ll watch some video and iron some things
out. Biggest thing is though we
got a victory. It hasn’t always
been the prettiest wins, but we get wins and if that’s what it takes we’re
going to grind it out.”

Kinnear was pleased with his team’s improved second-half
performance, particularly the effort. 

“[It was a] great response coming out of the locker room,” he
said. “These guys are the
defending champs and a good team.
It’s a good win for our team for a number of reasons. All the games
aren’t going to be easy and we aren’t going to play beautiful football all the
time. As long as we show the same commitment and belief that we showed tonight
for those 90 minutes, we will be fine.”

Forward Dominic Oduro agreed with his coach in summing up the
night.

“At the end of the day, we got three points,” noted
Oduro. “It doesn’t have to be
pretty.”