Tag Archive | "Brian Ching"

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Game #1 Preview: Philadelphia at Houston

Posted on 18 March 2011 by Breton Bonnette

The Union opens up the 2011 season on the road against a younger, different looking Dynamo squad. Eager to put their own new pieces to work, the Union hope to build a formidable defensive set-up and find away points to help complement what should be another great year at home.

Philadelphia Union (0-0-0) at Houston Dynamo (0-0-0)
Robertson Stadium, Houston, TX, 8:30PM EST

Projected Philadelphia Union Starting XI




Le Toux—————————————–Mapp


QUESTIONABLE: DF Juan Diego Gonzalez (L hip flexor strain); PROBABLE: MF Sebastien Le Toux (L ankle sprain)

Projected Houston Dynamo Starting XI

————————-T. Hall————————–

Freeman—–Boswell——–J. Taylor—–Chabala


—————-W. Bruin——–Oduro—————–

OUT: MF Colin Clark (L knee); Francisco Navas Cobo (R hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: FW Brian Ching (R hamstring strain)

Game Notes:

The Union added some real firepower in the offseason – retooling an ailing defense from 2010 with Carlos Valdes, a surefire starter from day one, and veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon. Brian Carroll, a former MLS Cup winner and standout midfielder, should anchor the middle of the field this year and act as an efficient connection in transition.

One of the biggest factors of the game will be the quality of the goalkeeper on each side. Replacing the underperforming pair of Seitz and Knighton this year will be Bundesliga vet Faryd Mondragon giving the Union a true rock on paper in between the posts. Carlos Ruiz has already come out and said to Marc Narducci of Philly.com that Faryd Mondragon is “the best goalkeeper in the league”. The Dynamo, however, lost their strongest presence on the field to psuedo-retirement (as he is now on a player/coach contract with DC United) and faces a year of inexperience in the net. Tally Hall, who has been promising in limited appearances, will get his chance in net for a new look Dynamo.

The Union should have Le Toux starting tomorrow despite a nagging injury. Mondragon tweeted earlier this week about some pain in his knee but there has been nothing pointing to him having to miss the opener. The Dynamo will most likely be missing their stud striker Brian Ching as he recovers from a hamstring strain. Ching probably could play but with the season just starting up, I would expect him to sit this one out for fear of an early setback.

The Union come into this opener with a 1-0-1 record vs. Dominic Kinnear and his Dynamo all-time. The win was an especially memorable one. Two highlight reel worthy plays were produced in the Union’s 3-2 victory over Houston. The first a walk the line stunner from Shea Salinas and the second a last gasp winner from Danny Mwanga to secure three points for the Union in their first win away from home.

Houston is undefeated in home openers so beware. They are 2-0-3 all time, beating defending champions from 2009 Real Salt Lake 2-1 last season. Robertson Stadium, however, is definitely not a fortress for the Dynamo as they registered a 6-6-3 record last season at home. Their new stadium (scheduled to open in 2012) can’t come soon enough for Dynamo fans.

Zac MacMath – the Union’s first round pick out of the 2011 SuperDraft – and second year midfielder Amobi Okugo have been called to participate with the U-20 USMNT in the 2011 CONCACAF Championship (March 28th to April 10th). With their two week exit, both MacMath and Okugo will miss the following games – March 26’s home opener vs. Vancouver, April 2’s away match in Los Angeles vs. Galaxy, April 7’s US Open Cup qualifier vs. DC United.

Slipping under the radar, Soccer by Ives came out and reported that the Union have finally put pen to paper on a contract for Michael Farfan’s twin brother Gabriel. Gabriel has been with the team all preseason and was expected to receive a contract. There has been no confirmation from the Union as of yet.

Time is running out! You have until MIDNIGHT tonight to submit your picks for the 2011 Union “Firsts” Contest. Get them in and be in the running for a $50 gift card to PhiladelphiaUnionStore.com.

We’ll be there tomorrow hopefully grabbing some pictures and keeping you up to date on all things happening on and off the field at Robertson Stadium!

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ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Twenty

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Breton Bonnette

It’s amazing how much a dismal performance from ones team can take the wind out of your sails. DC United puts two on this week’s Best XI since who knows after beating up on a listless Philadephia Union squad at RFK Stadium. Danny Allsopp’s brace was overshadowed this week by high octane performances from Kansas City, Columbus, Red Bull New York, Houston, and even Chicago who lost the 4-3 goalfest at the head and feet of one Brian Ching. Ching hit for a hattrick, Marquez displayed his DP quality, and Kevin Hartman made sure that Dallas didn’t throw one away vs. Chivas USA as things start to heat up with only one third of the season left.

ASN’s MLS Best XI, Week Twenty

GK: Kevin Hartman, FC Dallas – 9

It’s not surprising that guys like Kevin Hartman and Jon Busch have wrestled control of their respective team’s starting keeper position, especially after the way they exited their long-time clubs. Hartman, however, has been impressive all season though, effectively shutting out Dario Sala and giving the Hoops a figure they can count on day-in, day-out in Frisco. His performance vs. the Goats more than showed that.

DEF: Chad Marshall, Columbus – 7.5

He is back to his old ways of one of the most consistent defenders in the league and it seems he put a little injury or two behind him. His defense, however, wasn’t the only thing on display vs. Colorado. It was Marshall’s headed assist to Steven Lenhart that helped seal the three points. Marshall was able to make space for himself and then had the presence of mind to drive the ball back post for an easy Lenhart put back.

DEF: George John, FC Dallas – 8

The whole FC Dallas defense had a great day in their 1-0 shutout of Chivas USA but it was the second-year centreback who stuck out in particular. A confident back four can do wonders for a team that  was so accustomed to never getting the result they needed. Dallas is starting to even win ugly and that bodes well in the long run. It all starts with the solid nature of the backline and John, rookie Zach Loyd, and Jair Benitez have provided that stability in the past couple games.

DEF: Dejan Jakovic, DC United – 7.5

Jakovic bodied up Danny Mwanga on more than one occasion keeping him quiet and ineffective in United’s team win over the Philadelphia Union. The whole United backline showed poise – something that has been rare of them this season – in dealing with the double threat of Le Toux and Mwanga. He’s a central defender with decent size and speed so coupled with the conditions and proper positioning, Mwanga and Le Toux were unable to use their pace against Pena and Jakovic.

MID: Birahim Diop, Kansas City – 8.5

It looked relatively uncertain whether or not Diop would ever see any Major League Soccer again for the Wizards. His previous cameo appearances were mixed at best but the versatile defensive midfielder/striker proved critics wrong with a two goal performance. Diop – out of professional soccer last year- would have never received this chance if it weren’t for a Teal Bunbury suspension. Now, however, does Peter Vermes give the Senegalese utility man another shot after a Man of the Match performance?

MID: Rafa Marquez, Red Bull New York – 8

Marquez showed exactly why Red Bull fans should never worry about his form or possible impact on the squad. After a relatively dismal performance last match – especially for a DP – Marquez fought to make up for it. A lesser player would have allowed that bad runout to start an unfortunate trend. The former Barca man did it in style too, rocketing home the first goal of the game from 25 yards out. One – if not for Ching’s bicycle kick – that surely would have walked away with Goal of the Week.

MID: Guillermo Barros Schelloto, Columbus – 7.5

Even on his off days, Schelloto can change a game. It was the Argentine’s driven cross that eventually preserved the 3-1 win over the Rapids. Though not in his usual scintillating form, Schelloto has found a way to have an impact on almost every game and is one of the biggest reasons the Crew continue to win despite playing relatively desheveled soccer.

MID: Freddie Ljungberg, Chicago – 8

It’s a shame that the results haven’t going Freddie and Chicago’s way but Ljungberg has done everything he can to put and keep the Fire in the game. In all honesty, what more can you ask from the guy? He has certainly shown a new fire since arriving in Chicago and there is no indication that any of that will change. If the rest of the Fire starters can start matching his intensity, they could muster up a late rally and ride the momentum through the playoffs.

FW: Danny Allsopp, DC United – 8

It was Allsopp’s first league goals since early May but it certainly made the United fans at RFK on a rainy Sunday very happy. Another person who benefitted was interim boss and D.C. fan favorite Ben Olsen. Both opportunities were manufactured by the young Andy Najar but it was Allsopp that finished things off. What’s a little bit weird is the fact that Allsopp just took over the team’s leading goalscorer tag despite the 3 and a half month skid.

FWD: Kei Kamara, Kansas City – 8.5

It seems that Kamara replays that early season howler before every game now as a Wizard. He has since made up for it with 8 goals on the season. This time around, however, the lanky striker played the role of provider to Birahim Diop registering two assists in a big win for Kansas City. His play over the past couple weeks earned him a call up for a Sierra Leone African Nations Cup qualifier.  

FWD: Brian Ching, Houston – 9 ASN’s PLAYER OF THE WEEK

The unquestionable player of the week in Week 20. Call him a poacher, opportunistic, or whatever but the big man certainly knows how to put a game away. It was a huge 4-3 win over Chicago for the Dynamo, giving Houston fans something to cheer about after a run of bad form. The defense still needs work but if Ching can stay healthy and continue to produce, Houston may have some gas left in the tank for a late season playoff charge.


Week 19, Best XI

Week 18, Best XI

Week 17, Best XI

Week 16, Best XI

Midseason, Best XI

Week 15, Best XI

Week 14, Best XI

Week 13, Best XI

Week 12, Best XI

Week 11, Best XI

Week 10, Best XI

Week 9, Best XI

Week 8, Best XI

Week 7, Best XI

Week 6, Best XI

Week 5, Best XI

Week 4, Best XI

Week 3, Best XI

Week 2, Best XI

 Week 1, Best XI

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Triallists run rampant in Houston loss

Posted on 07 March 2008 by Scott Ferguson

With a number of guest internationals making up the Toronto FC roster in MLS pre-season, head coach John Carver was given lots to think about ahead of the squad registration deadline. In the club’s first match of the Texas Pro Soccer Bowl, attacking football was the theme of the day as Houston Dynamo defeated TFC 4-3 on March 5th in Cibolo, Texas.

Chris Wondolowski’s headed goal had given the Men in Orange an early lead at Steele Stadium. Also in the first half, Jim Brennan crossed for triallist Kiki Musampa to send his own thumping header past Canadian keeper Pat Onstad in the Dynamo net. Houston went on to romp to a 4-1 lead on two first half goals from Brian Ching and an Erik Ustruck strike after an interval rife with substitutions.

TFC managed to make a game of it with 2 late goals, as former Newcastle midfielder Martin Brittain converted a penalty after a foul by Dynamo forward Wondolowski and fellow triallist Tony Vairelles bagged a goal with eight minutes left. Despite the late fightback, Dominic Kinnear’s men — who also beat their Canadian opponents last year in their first game of the 2007 Carolina Challenge Cup — held on for another pre-season victory, this time in the first edition of the Pro Soccer Festival on home-state soil.

Brittain and one time-Manchester City midfielder Musampa fit the mould of British-based attacking players that TFC Director of Football Mo Johnston has sought in the past, but Vairelles represents a departure from such a recruitment strategy. The 34-year-old, who played for France in the 1996 Olympics, has spent his club career in his home country and Belgium, where he scored 18 goals in 57 games during two different spells at SC Bastia on the French island of Corsica.

All three of the visiting players have helped their chances of earning a permanent contract in Toronto, with salary cap space available since the departure of Ronnie O’Brien to San Jose. Canadian under-23 international Tyler Rosenlund looks set to join the side, pending league approval, and will join compatriot Kevin Harmse at BMO Field; the midfield hardman having joined from Los Angeles Galaxy last week.

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