The long goodbye: Houston Dynamo's Brian Ching hangs 'em up after testimonial

Brian Ching’s Dynamo career ended as it began, with a multi-goal performance in front of the home fans. Ching’s Orange Team defeated the White Team 6-4 in MLS’ first-ever testimonial match at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday.

It started all wrong for Ching’s Orange Team – made up of members of the 2006-07 Dynamo squads – as they were cut apart in just the eighth minute of play. Davy Arnaud whipped in a cross from the right flank and Calen Carr snapped a header past Pat Onstad to open the scoring.

The battle of the first half was clearly Ching vs. Landon Donovan, who was suited up in goal for the White Team. Donovan started strong, making a diving stop on Ching’s first shot attempt.

The man of the hour got his revenge as the half wore on, however, eventually netting a first half hat trick. Ching collected a cross from Brian Mullan in the 10th minute and turned his defender, beating Donovan at the near post to equalize.

Ching bulled past Jimmy Conrad in the box for his second goal 22 minutes in, then collected a ball from Dominic Kinnear two minutes later and blasted a shot into the far netting to complete the hat trick. Kinnear entered the match as a substitute in the 20th minute and promptly received a yellow card from referee Ismail Elfath.

Steve Ralston pulled a goal back for the White Team three minutes before halftime. Halves were shortened to 35 minutes apiece for the match to account for the advanced age and poor fitness of many of the players.

Brad Davis chipped Donovan from near the halfway line at the beginning of the second half, and Juan Pablo Galavis – who will star in season 18 of The Bachelor – picked up a goal for the White Team.

Ching got his fourth goal after being fouled in the box by Conrad and being awarded the penalty kick. Ching re-enacted Donovan’s famous penalty run-up as he converted the kick against the converted keeper. Conrad was shown a yellow card on the play, who then took the card out of the referee’s hand and brandished it against the man in the middle.

Hijinks ruled much of the second half, as Craig Waibel pulled a fan out of the stands, outfitted him in a jersey and cleats and trotted him on the field in his place. Steve Ralston climbed on Hunter Freeman’s shoulders in order to defend a corner kick, and Donovan ran the length of the field to join in another corner kick.

Carr scored a diving header off a Boniek García cross to bring the White Team within a goal, but Ching had one more in him. In the 69th minute, Ching put away an easy goal from four yards out to close his Dynamo career.

He was then subbed out, earning a standing ovation from fans and players alike, as a cheer of “Thank you, Brian” rose from the stands, putting the final touches on a truly special night honoring a truly special player.