At a press conference this past Tuesday at BBVA Compass Stadium, Brian Ching, the Dynamo's all-time leading scorer, announced his retirement from the game after the end of the 2013 season.
To bid farewell to one of the last of the original Dynamo players, the team announced a Brian Ching Testimonial Match, set for December 13 at BBVA.
Here are a few thoughts about Ching's career with the Dynamo, as well as the team's match against W Connection FC Wednesday night in CONCACAF Champions League.
5. Dynamo's all-time goal scorer calls it quits.
Ching might be as responsible as anyone else for the quick, early success of this club. When the team had their inaugural match on April 2, 2006, Ching tallied four goals in the Dynamo's 5-2 win over the Colorado Rapids. Later that year, he traveled with the U.S. Men's National Team to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.
In the 2006 MLS Cup, Ching scored the equalizing goal in overtime to send the match to a penalty kick shootout. Ching scored the winning penalty kick to give the Dynamo their first of two straight MLS Cup titles.
Ching would go on to score 69 career goals for the Dynamo in all competitions, most all-time.
4. Testimonial Match to celebrate soccer in Houston.
— Stuart Holden (@stuholden) September 24, 2013
When Ching was first approached about a testimonial match by the club, he said he was just honored and humbled. Yet, he couldn't allow for the match to only be about himself.
"I think it's a huge opportunity for a lot of the guys that came here and built soccer in Houston from that '06 team all the way until now, to get a chance to play one game in this stadium together," Ching said during a press conference.
The match will feature former and current Dynamo players including Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Eddie Robinson, Craig Waibel, Wade Barrett, Dwayne de Rosario and Brian Mullan. Also playing are former teammates of Ching from his days with the USMNT: Landon Donovan, Carlos Bocanegra, Frankie Hejduk and Davy Arnaud.
"I think for me what I'm happiest about is getting a chance to play with my friends as a final game," Ching said. "And that's what soccer has always been for me; it's about the friendships and the camaraderie that I've had in the locker room."
3. Jason Johnson looks to beat Ching's goal record.
The Dynamo's rookie striker looks to one day be in the same conversation with Ching when his career comes to an end. Wednesday night in CCL action, Johnson netted his second career goal in all competitions as the Dynamo beat W Connection 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
"I was in a good position, and the keeper made a bad clearance. So I kept my eyes on it, got my first touch, and I saw the defender coming across; I just touched it around him and it was a beautiful strike," Johnson said after the match.
Johnson also scored the Dynamo's only goal in their 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls earlier this month.
2. CCL match a confidence booster for many.
The match was an opportunity for guys to get valuable minutes ahead of the final push before the playoffs.
Omar Cummings got the start as he slowly works his way back into match fitness following rehab from a slew of injuries this summer.
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Also, newly acquired guys like Alex Lopez Servando Carrasco got starts as well, as they look to acclimate themselves with the Dynamo's system and philosophies.
1. No time to rest
The Dynamo now go on the road to face the New England Revolution, who sit just three points behind the Orange - and one spot below them in the Eastern Conference.
After their match in Boston, the Dynamo get three straight home matches against the three teams who are directly above them in the East, all within reach - point-wise - of the Dynamo.