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. 4: Ching's assist and brace power the Dynamo past a rival in the playoffs.
During the 2007 regular season, the Dynamo squared off against regional rivals FC Dallas a total of four times, winning three of those meetings and earning a scoreless draw in the other.
Yet, as the two met in the Western Conference Semifinals in a two-legged affair, it looked as if FC Dallas would reverse their regular season fortunes in the Texas Derby. In the first leg at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, FC Dallas defender Clarence Goodson pounced on a long throw into the box to score in the 23rd minute, a lead that the Dynamo’s northern neighbors held on to for an opening win.
As the series moved to Houston, the Dynamo found themselves in an even deeper hole just 14 minutes into the match as Carlos Ruiz finished a direct FC Dallas attack to go up 2-0 on aggregate.
But great teams and great players are remembered for what they do in the clutch, when the chips are stacked against them, and Brian Ching and the 2007 Dynamo proved that they were exactly that over the next 95 minutes.
“It never felt like we were out of it, no matter what the score was,” said Ching.
A little bit of luck doesn’t hurt, either, and the Dynamo got just that 47th minute. After a tumble out of bounds, Arturo Alvarez kneed Brad Davis in the groin and was shown a red card—one of twelve cards shown during the match—which brought FC Dallas down to 10 men.
Twenty minutes after the incident, the Dynamo found their first goal of the series. Ching, playing the provider this time, headed down a Ryan Cochrane ball into the box right into the path of Stuart Holden, who finished it with a half-volley strike from twelve yards out.
Less than five minutes later, Ching leveled the series and put the Dynamo on their way to a Western Conference Finals spot.
“We just kept pushing and pushing,” said Ching. “Dwayne [De Rosario] played me a good ball through and I just had to put it on frame. I think once we got that goal we kind of knew we were going to finish it off.”
With the series tied 2-2 on aggregate at the finish of regulation, the teams headed into 30 minutes of extra time to determine the victor. It would take just seven minutes for Ching to pop up in the right place at the right time to put Houston ahead.
“Brian Mullan hits a cross and Joe [Ngwenya] traps it and it just kind of falls right to me and it’s a pretty easy finish,” said Ching of the series-winning goal. Of Ching’s eight career playoff goals, six either tied or won the game or series.
“It was a huge effort by the guys to come back in that series. I think that team was a team that would never give up, always push for the winner and always believe in ourselves. I think those goals go to prove that, and then Brad [Davis] finished it off with a great free kick.”
Davis’ free kick goal in the 100th minute of the match put the game and the series away for good, and put the Dynamo on track for their second consecutive MLS Cup.
“It was a huge win,” reflected Ching. “And I think for our fans, the fact that it was Dallas made it that much better.”