As First Kick, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods approaches, MLSsoccer.com is marking each passing day with a different statistic, observation or talking point, setting the stage for the beginning of the 2012 MLS campaign.
18 – Starts in 2009 by Brian Ching, the most he's recorded in the past three seasons
A veteran, a leader and a hero. That's what the Dynamo feel they got back when they traded a conditional first-round pick in the 2012 SuperDraft to Montreal for Brian Ching on Feb. 16.
What the Dynamo also hope they get with Ching back in the fold is a consistent presence up top, something the forward hasn’t been able to deliver over the past three seasons, when he notched seasons of 18, 16 and 15 starts and saw his production drop each campaign.
In 2009, Ching, no stranger to injuries, missed some time with a knock but came back to finish the season with eight goals scored.
The 2010 season wasn’t any kinder on the injury front, but Ching managed to battle his way back from his assorted knocks – as well as the disappointment of missing out on World Cup duty with the US – to tally seven goals in 20 appearances.
Then, last season, the veteran striker put up some of his lowest numbers to date in a Dynamo uniform – 1,242 minutes played, 15 starts, five goals and one assist – as hamstring, rib, foot and adductor injuries put him out of commission for significant periods.
Now, coming up on what Ching himself said could be his final season, it’s clear that Houston will need their big man to stay healthy to consistently contribute on offense. But perhaps most importantly, the club will need Ching to mentor the young crop of forwards, such as Will Bruin and Colin Rolfe, waiting to create their own Dynamo legend.
The Dynamo open BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12 against D.C. United. GET TICKETS!