HOUSTON — It is hard to believe but the Houston Dynamo have a forward pair that are still working out the kinks.
Brian Ching and Will Bruin have started as many games together in 2012 as they did all of last year (4). That might seem a bit low since the two have a combined 36 starts between them in that time, but injuries and bad timing largely kept Ching and Bruin from featuring together in 2011.
Early in 2012 the pair is still learning how to play and be productive together.
GOAL: Bruin breaks the deadlock
“The more we play together the more we understand each other,” Ching told MLSsoccer.com. “We had a pretty good understanding [Sunday]. We’ve had some time over the past three weeks to work on some things. Will’s making better runs and he understands my movement more on the field and he’s getting used to it.”
The work is paying off. The relatively new pairing finally got on the board with Bruin’s 24th minute goal in a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire on Sunday. While the goal count may be considered low four games into the season, the pair are putting in the type of work that can get overlooked.
“One of the things that people don’t recognize is [their work off the ball] in a big way,” Brad Davis told MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday’s training. “Ching’s been doing that ever since he came to this club. He gets lumps kicked out of him every single game and maybe he doesn’t score, but people don’t recognize those little things. Will does it as well and they don’t say anything.
“They keep their mouth shut and keep working for us. It’s a huge part of the team.”
Sunday’s draw was a good example of what Davis sees. The pair worked well in tandem, mixing their runs and finding space themselves to be effective holding the ball up or creating space for the other by pulling defenders away from certain areas. That work paid off on Bruin’s goal as the pair combined with a fantastic give-and-go.
According to Davis, the duo’s performance Sunday is a good sign, considering some subtle changes in the Dynamo attack this year from the “swing the ball in” mentality the club has employed in years past.
“Roles change year in and year out,” Davis said. “I thought from the beginning of the year we were going to be a bit of a different team and so far we have been. I think we move the ball better as a group and we have to continue to play and build and come together.
“Seeing those guys play well [Sunday] and combine together is good,” Davis added. “The biggest thing is seeing Will get the opportunity, and then score, because forwards gain confidence when they score goals and get on a streak.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.