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Brian Ching, an ultimate MLS warrior, officially retiring

Sep 24, 2013, 4:55 PM EST

DC United v Houston Dynamo Getty Images

Houston Dynamo striker Brian Ching was the perfect fan favorite for working class Houston, a “warrior” for lack of a better word, someone who made the very most of his talent and athletic ability through passion for the game and consummate effort on the training ground and on match day.

Anyone paying attention knew that 2013 would be Ching’s final season, even if he had left the teeniest bit of wiggle room for a 2014 appearance. He came so close to retiring in 2012, after all, and he has become a peripheral figure around BBVA Compass Stadium, making the occasional start in Champions League or U.S. Open Cup but only appearing off the bench in MLS matches (and usually quite late, even then).

Ching, 35, had five goals in 2011 and repeated the sum in 2012, but he’s still looking for his first MLS strike of 2013.

Personal Ching moment that I’ll never forget: Taylor Twellman had broken a 113-minute scoreless deadlock for New England in MLS Cup 2006. As Houston kicked off, Ching recognized a ball going wide, committed himself to a hard run forward and launched himself into championship-game history with the quick-strike, dramatic equalizer past Matt Reis.

The Dynamo won that year’s MLS Cup, the first of two in a row, in penalty kicks. Highlights of the match, plus Ching talking about it, are here:

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. Here is what Ching told The Houston Chronicle about today’s announcement, which will officially close his 12-year MLS career. Ching, who also scored 11 goals while earning 45 caps for the U.S. national team, will remain with the team through the rest of the 2013 season.

If I had retired last year, it would have been more of a difficult decision than it was this year. My body is telling me that it’s time to call it and retire. I can’t play 90 minutes at the level I want. My body hurts if I do play over 45 minutes. It doesn’t just hurt a couple days after. It hurts an entire week.”

  1. geojock - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Ching Testimonial Match is gonna be cool.

  2. danielofthedale - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    While I never liked it when I saw him coming on for the US National team, this guy was true great for San Jose/Houston and for MLS as a whole. If MLS ever gets a Hall of Fame, he will surly be in there and that is the highest honor I can think of for a player.

  3. midtec2005 - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I think Ching was an underrated passer, he had good vision and hold up play.

    Sadly I think it’s also a travesty that he was left off the 2010 WC squad, some may disagree with me there. I think he was better than the 2010 version of Altidore (not the 2013 version though).

    • Steve Davis - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:42 PM

      I would only argue that he “had been” an underrated passer … until a whole bunch of people in TV and in my biz started calling him and “underrated passer” two or three years ago. Then he was, you know, “rated.” But, yes … he was a more well-rounded type than a lot of people understood

    • geojock - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      I wish they had optastats for his whole career. I remember so many times when he ‘assisted the assist’.

  4. talgrath - Sep 24, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    It’s always a bit sad to see a stalwart player like Ching retire, but 35 is a pretty good run for a forward. I’m not a Houston fan, but I wish Ching all the best.

  5. mkbryant3 - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Twas great to see him at ole Spartan Stadium with Donovan and Conrad….and Dayak!

  6. mkbryant3 - Sep 24, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    …and lest I forgot…Ronnie Ekelund! Man, that was a fun time.

  7. markburst - Sep 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM

    Thank you for the memories Brian. Great striker for the real SJ Earthquakes.

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