In anticipation of Brian Ching’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2013 season, HoustonDynamo.com will count down the Top 10 Brian Ching Moments each week leading up to the Brian Ching Testimonial Match, presented by BBVA Compass. No. 5: Ching's bicycle kick wins the game, a playoff spot and Goal of the Year.
Because of his size and knack for scoring headed goals, Brian Ching is sometimes painted as a brute force, a target striker who found success by being more physical and outworking his opponents.
It’s not a wholly incorrect assumption, as Ching would battle his way with the best of them, but the finer aspects of his game sometimes get overlooked because of this. He was an excellent passing forward and, as he showed against D.C. United on Sept. 30, 2006, wasn’t afraid of going for the spectacular finish.
Knotted in a scoreless tie in the 86th minute with eventual Supporters’ Shield winners D.C. United, Brad Davis whipped in an early cross to the edge of the penalty area. Dynamo forward Paul Dalglish got his head on it to flick it on, but the ball ended up going higher than it did far.
Ching, unmarked at the penalty spot and his momentum going away from goal, did what anybody would do: turn your back on the goalkeeper, line up the falling ball and will your feet over your head to slot a perfect bicycle kick in the bottom corner for the game-winning goal.
“At the time you don't really think about [whether it will go in], you just want to connect with it pretty solidly,” said Ching. “It’s just one of those things, I hit it and it went right in the net. It was a big goal for us and one that I’m pretty proud of.”
Big, because that goal and the resulting victory secured the Dynamo’s spot in the 2006 MLS Cup Playoffs, where even more memorable moments were waiting. Not to mention that the goal was memorialized at the end of the season as MLS’ Goal of the Year.
“It was one of those things where I still look back and just kind of go ‘wow’,” said the native Hawaiian. “I used to practice it on the sand as a little kid, but you never think you’re actually going to get it on the turf to score in a game.”
It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime shot, but four years later, Ching would double his bicycle kick total as part of a hat trick against the Chicago Fire.
It looks as if those hours on the Hawaiian beaches throwing his body around on the sand paid off in the long run.