For the up-and-down Houston Dynamo, there is one player who has proven to be a steadying force. The only problem is, that player has had trouble staying on the field.
Brian Ching plays the role of leader and consistent high-level performer while on the field for the Dynamo, but injuries and a recent red card have cut down his pitch time. When he is out there, it is easy to see that the team plays at a different level and the attack flows well with the aid of the former U.S. international’s strong play up top. In a year that has been marred by helter-skelter performances from Houston, getting Ching back full-time for the stretch run is vital.
“He gives you confidence,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear. “The way he plays and the way he carries himself. His attitude on the field is excellent.”
The confidence Ching instills comes from his “lead-by-example” mentality. With the forward always running and working hard, it is easy to see why coaches and players like having him on the field.
His work ethic and attitude are accentuated by the veteran's play on Saturdays. When the lights come on, Ching can be counted on to make smart decisions, fight for the ball, and make dangerous runs in the box. That, coupled with his documented ability to make teams pay when in front of goal, is what makes Ching so valuable.
“He’s going to hold it up and fight for you,” Kinnear said. “He holds the ball up and puts the team in good positions. His movement in the box is excellent. He’s good to have out there because he expects other to play the same way when he’s on the field.”
His impact on the field was missed last week in Los Angeles, where the Dynamo suffered a 3-0 defeat to Chivas USA. Missing the game due to a red-card suspension made matters worse on the team leader.
“It was frustrating because of the way things went down and that I hurt the team,” Ching said. “It’s something I’ve learned from and, hopefully as I get back in this weekend, I can continue helping the team make a run towards the playoffs.”
That help starts Saturday, when the Dynamo host the Seattle Sounders, a team that has played Houston very close since coming into the league. For the unassuming Ching, helping the side means continuing to take care of his business and to provide an example for his young teammates.
“I just go out and do my job,” Ching said. “Maybe guys see that and it gives them confidence to go out there and do what they’ve got to do.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.