Ching injury mars Dynamo victory over RSL

Loss of striker could make three points costly for Houston

HOU_20100401_Levey_01_Brian_Ching

Photo Credit: 
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Dynamo may have gotten the proverbial three points on
Thursday night in the team’s home 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

The first half was forgettable
for the Dynamo. While the team did not play poorly, they were
mis-clicking offensively throughout.
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 tomorrow,” 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. The 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.”