Dynamo striker Ching evolves from goalscorer to creator

Brian Ching and Will Bruin celebrate

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HOUSTON – Since the Dynamo arrived in Houston in 2006, Brian Ching’s name has been synonymous with goals. After all, the former US international is the club’s all-time leader in scoring with 52 of them.

But 2012 has brought out a different side of Ching. As the players around him, such as Will Bruin, expand their role, the captain has morphed into a player who looks to create as much as score goals.

“I guess I’m evolving,” Ching told MLSsoccer.com with a smile. “My role’s changed a bit this year and I’ve been passing the ball a little more rather than getting on the end of crosses. I think it’s due to the personnel we have on the field.”

To accommodate that personnel, Ching has been spending more time this season dropping into the midfield to distribute the ball. The 33-year-old is no stranger to working in the midfield, but this year he is trying to keep his head up, and looking up the field.

“I try and create numbers advantages on the field and make the defenders think and it’s been pretty effective this year,” the Dynamo captain continued. “It’s something I’ve always worked on and tried to get better at and it’s paying dividends this year.”

While his hold-up skills are well-known, his ability to pass may catch some by surprise. Ching has displayed a deft touch in his forward passes already this season, and has two assists to show for it, the most recent a sublime pass to set up Luiz Camargo for his first MLS goal last Saturday at the New England Revolution.

“If he’s going to drop into midfield he’s got to move the ball for us,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com. “He has the ability to collect the ball and play simple, that’s an advantage for us.”

Combine those skills with his intelligence and ability to open lanes by making smart runs off the ball and you have the quintessential make-up for a creator in the middle of the pitch. And as his teammates’ skills evolve, Ching’s game is becoming more than just a hold-up forward.

“As long as I’m being effective on the field I’m happy,” Ching said. “Whether its assists or making runs for other guys or scoring goals. Bottom line is I want to score goals, just look at my game against D.C. for that, and I still have that pressure I put on myself to get goals but assists feel just as good.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.