The Houston Dynamo broke a 10-game MLS winless streak with an emotional 4-3 win over the Chicago Fire Saturday night behind a Herculean effort from captain Brian Ching, who scored a hat trick that included a spectacular bicycle kick and the dramatic game-winner in the 85th minute.
The win lifts the Dynamo into a tie for 11th place in MLS with 23 points, just five points behind the Colorado Rapids, who currently occupy the eighth and final playoff spot. Houston plays at Colorado next Saturday.
The Dynamo had been winless in league play for almost exactly three months, going 0-6-4 in league play since a 2-0 win over D.C. United on May 22.
Brian Ching’s hat trick was the fourth in Dynamo club history and his first since a four-goal performance in the team’s opening game on April 2, 2006. The other hat tricks came from Brad Davis (June 21, 2007) and Nate Jaqua (September 8, 2007). It was Ching’s first multi-goal game since August 1, 2009, when he scored two goals in a 4-3 win over D.C. United. In netting the hat trick, Ching doubled his 2010 goal total from three to six goals, most on the team. Ching now has 71 goals in his MLS regular season career.
Defender/midfielder Richard Mulrooney, who began the game at right back and finished it at central midfield, had a hand in all four Dynamo goals, which all came from set pieces. He was credited with two assists, his first multi-assist game since August 20, 2008.
Midfielder Lovel Palmer scored the other Dynamo goal, driving home an indirect free kick to put Houston up 2-0 early in the second half. It was Palmer’s fourth goal of the year in all competitions but his second in MLS play.
For the Dynamo, defender Bobby Boswell made his 20th MLS start of the season, the sixth consecutive year in which Boswell has made at least 20 starts. Midfielder Brian Mullan made the 225th start of his MLS career. Geoff Cameron started at center back for the second consecutive game and made the 60th appearance of his MLS career. Forward Dominic Oduro made his 50th career appearance for the Dynamo in all competitions and his first start in MLS play since May 29. Oduro and Brian Ching started together for the first time since April 1.
The Dynamo set a season high by scoring four goals, the most Houston has scored since a 5-1 win over Árabe Unido in Champions League play on September 22, 2009. In league play, the Dynamo last scored four goals in a 4-3 win over D.C. United on August 1, 2009.
The Dynamo started without defender Adrian Serioux (hamstring) and midfielders Corey Ashe (hamstring) and Brad Davis (quad), although Davis entered as a substitute.
Next Game: Saturday, August 28, 8:30 p.m. CT, Dynamo at Colorado Rapids, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City CO
Next Home Game: Sunday, September 5, 7:30 p.m., Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes, Robertson Stadium