San Jose Earthquakes forward Brian Ching was named Honda MLS Player of the Week by the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA) for the week ending July 18 (Week 16). Ching's second two-goal performance of the year helped the Earthquakes defeat the Colorado Rapids 3-1 on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. Ching, who also previously scored two goals in a game against the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 22, is now in second place on the MLS goal scoring charts with nine tallies (one goal behind Carlos Ruiz's league-leading 10).
San Jose took the lead against Colorado after 22 minutes, finishing off a fine combination play that started in the back with San Jose goalkeeper Pat Onstad. The Canadian international distributed the ball on the right flank to Brian Mullan, who charged up the line and found Landon Donovan, who in turn laid back a neat one-touch pass to Ronnie Ekelund. The veteran midfielder then slotted a perfectly-weighted through ball for Ching just inside the top of the box, and he made no mistake with the finish, ripping a shot past Colorado goalkeeper Joe Cannon and inside the left post.
"It was a great buildup play from Pat to Brian back to Landon who played another good ball to Ronnie," Ching said. "Ronnie played me an excellent ball and I just continued my run and had a good finish."
After the intermission San Jose immediately went to work to extend their lead, and it took just five minutes for Ching to grab his and the Earthquakes' second of the match. The goal came after a long sequence that began when Donovan had a clear breakaway, only for his attempt to be smothered by Cannon. Donovan's rebound attempt hit the base of the left post, but Ramiro Corrales eventually drove a cross from the left side into the goalmouth and Mullan let the ball through at the near post, allowing Ching to redirect from close range into the unprotected net.
"Brian Mullan made a great (near-post) run and Ramiro made a great cross," added Ching. "Brian left it for me, and it fell right to my feet. Not too many people miss that one."
The Haleiwa, Hawaii native earns his first career Player of the Week honor. The acknowledgement is the most recent in a series of accolades received by the 26-year-old, who was also selected to start for the Western Conference team in the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star game on July 31 and earned his second career cap for the U.S. national team in a 1-1 tie against Poland on July 11 in Chicago.
Ryan Nelsen of D.C. United, the Los Angeles Galaxy's Kevin Hartman, and New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman also received votes for the weekly award. The Honda Major League Soccer Player of the Week is selected every week throughout the MLS regular season by a panel of journalists from the Professional Soccer Reporters Association (PSRA).
2004 PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNERS:
Week 1: Jaime Moreno (D.C. United)
Week 2: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 3: Fabian Taylor (MetroStars)
Week 4: Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 5: Henry Ring (Chicago Fire)
Week 6: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 7: Pat Onstad (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 8: Alejandro Moreno (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 9: Jovan Kirovski (Los Angeles Galaxy)
Week 10: Pat Noonan (New England Revolution)
Week 11: Jeff Cunningham (Columbus Crew)
Week 12: Alecko Eskandarian (D.C. United)
Week 13: Amado Guevara (MetroStars)
Week 14: Davy Arnaud (Kansas City Wizards)
Week 15: Jeff Cassar (Dallas Burn)
Week 16: Brian Ching (San Jose Earthquakes)