HOUSTON – A penalty kick is soccer’s ultimate moment of individual responsibility, yet there was stellar teamwork involved when Brian Ching stepped up from 12 yards to give the Houston Dynamo a hard-fought victory against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
Brad Davis is the Dynamo’s normally assumes penalty-kick duties and scored the winner from the spot against the San Jose Earthquakes in the second game of the season. He claimed a fine goal from open play in the first half of Saturday’s match.
Yet in the closing stages of a tight encounter at BBVA Compass Stadium, Davis told Ching to take the spot-kick, giving the Dynamo’s talisman the ideal opportunity to open his tally in the sixth fixture at their new home. The veteran gratefully accepted Davis’ gift and banged his attempt in off the underside of the bar to secure a 2-1 win.
GOAL: Ching converts from the spot
“I told Brad to take it. He came up to me, he wanted to give it to me,” Ching said. “I was like, ‘No, you’re the one that normally takes it, it’s fine.’ He insisted, so I was like, ‘OK, that’s fine, I’ll take it.’ The good thing is that it went in and we got the win.”
The 83rd-minute strike was Ching’s second goal of the 2012 campaign. He also found the net in a 2-2 draw away to the Columbus Crew on April 21.
“I was just happy that it went in,” the 34-year-old said. “Hopefully, it kind of breaks the dam. I felt confident in taking the penalty kick, I’ve done it a number of times and it felt good when it hit the back of the net.”
The hometown hero was relieved to open his account at a stadium whose existence owes much to his huge contribution to the franchise’s success throughout the years.
In light of that, it’s no wonder Davis insisted his longtime teammate do the honors.
HIGHLIGHTS: HOU 2, PHI 1
“It was special,” Ching said. “I know every game the crowd has been cheering for me to get one. I’m thankful for that. They’re behind me. I’m just happy that the ball went in and we got the three points.”
Ching also took time to praise the contribution of Boniek García. The Dynamo’s new Designated Player impressed in his debut and gave Houston an added dimension with his energy and trickery down the right flank. The Honduran international started despite having taken part in only two training sessions with his new club.
“I’m very appreciative of the opportunity,” García said. “After I arrived, I trained and talked with Dom [Kinnear, the head coach] and he asked me if I was OK to play and I said yes. … Right now I do feel tired, after two training sessions and one game, I’m definitely feeling the effects of it.”
Fortunately for García, there is nothing that refreshes tired legs and minds quite like the feeling of satisfaction that comes from a hard-fought win.