U.S. Men's National Team

Ching deserves more respect from USA fans


                                                                        Photo by ISIphotos.com

When the U.S. men’s national team takes on Cuba on Saturday there is a very good chance that Brian Ching will be starting up top for the Americans.

That doesn’t sit to well with U.S. fans who have their hearts set on seeing newcomers like Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies and Kenny Cooper.

While it is natural to want to see new players emerge, writing off Ching as a starter ignores the fact that he is actualy on very good form and the most qualified striker in the U.S. national team pool.

Ching has enjoyed a strong 2008 season with Houston, posting 12 goals and five assists. The dozen goals is the most in MLS by a player on a winning team. He has been a central figure in the Dynamo’s back-to-back championships and has developed a good partnership with U.S. national teammate Landon Donovan.

All these things are why Ching deserves the call-ups and deserves to start. Yes, Altidore has all the potential in the world, and his time is coming, but right now Ching has the combination of form and experience that makes him the easy choice to start.

No, Ching isn’t a goal machine, and isn’t as flashy as some of his younger counterparts, but he still contributes in valuable ways. Take the Guatemala qualifier in August. Ching didn’t score in the 1-0 victory but he did set the pick that freed Carlos Bocanegra for the game-winning goal and it was Ching who held up the ball so well and tracked back to defend as well.

As for whether Ching can be clutch, I can think of three instances that I saw in person that were good evidence of his ability to perform under pressure. The first was with the U.S. national team in a qualifier against Jamaica in Kingston. Ching came on as a late substitute and delivered an equalizer in his first World Cup qualifying appearance.

Some three years later, in the 2006 MLS Cup, Ching equalized in overtime just seconds after New England scored what looked to be the Cup-winning goal. With the Revs celebrating, and some of Ching’s teammates sulking, Ching scored the equalizing goal and eventual game-winning penalty that helped deliver Houston’s first title.

Then there was the 2007 Gold Cup final, when the U.S. men’s national team trailed Mexico 1-0 in front of a sold-out pro-Mexico crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago. Ching drew a crucial penalty call that Donovan converted to give the Americans an equalizer in a match the U.S. team went on to win.

These are just some of the clutch moments in a career that hasn’t gotten anywhere near the respect it deserves.

At 30, Ching may not be considered a viable option for the U.S. team in 2010, but right now it’s really hard to argue against him continuing to start. Altidore and Cooper, the two heirs to the national team’s target striker throne will have adequate chance prior to the Hexagonal to show Bob Bradley that they’re capable of doing what Ching does, and more, but right now the job is Ching’s and he deserves it.

What do you think of Ching as a U.S. national team starter? Do you think he’s underrated? Think he is the best option at the moment? Think he should be benched in favor of the young guys? Do you feel comfortable with him holding down the jobs until the young guns are ready?

Share your thoughts below.

  • nico

    Good stuff. I agree Ching is quality and deserves to be the starter. I do question EJ’s constant recalls.


  • roberto

    totally agree with u Ives …..there’s a lot of ignorance with a lot of people that post here… I think realistically, right now ching should start. and you know what? I really like Ching I’ve followed him since his days with SJ playing with LD. Ching I don’t think you read these silly posts but if you do, don’t take them seriously, cause a lot of your detractors sound like handball fans or waterpolo.. Anything but soccer.

    Love Altidore & Cooper… Their time will come, I’m sure.


  • Tim Crawford

    Two words: Kenny Cooper. Ching is useless with the ball at his feet, and I disagree with his Dynamo form. He has too many garbage goals and more should be expected in the creating department for a team that doesn’t play with any playmaking midfielders. When Bradley and Clark/Mastroeni are starting, Cooper should play because he has better foot skills/passing ability/shooting ability.


  • brett

    roberto – there are some ching haters, at which i feel most of them are tired of seeing a forward not producing goals…. we have zero prolific goal scorers and we want one asap….

    alot of us dont dislike Ching, we simply want to see what other options we have and want to see how some of our other forwards fair against the mighty CONCACAF…

    personally i feel his hustle gives him rights to roster for the Hex, but i dont see the hurt in putting in some younger determined forwards looking to make a name for themselves…. i dont think alot have anything against him, they just wish to see someone else for a change…


  • Mark

    I don’t have a problem with Ching getting the start. He’s been solid option up front for the Nats. I don’t expect him play a full 90 though as I’d expect 3 of the younger players getting an opportunity to play. In the second game, once we’ve defeated Cuba, I’d expect him on the bench.

    I’m also advocating Connor Casey for inclusion in the January camp. Injuries derailed his career, but it looks like he’s played his way back into good form.


  • eduardo

    plain and simple ching is nowhere near to be an international quality striker . he is very sloooooow and cant create his own shot…….if we want to ascend in the world soccer ranking first thing we have to do is being honest and level with ourselves, and that goes to our media , our federation and our fans. plain and simple: if ching is that good how come we had never heard about an european team even showing any interest in him . media and fans that ching can cut it against real international teams are the same that really believe that USA really deserves to be rank 21 in the world or that an mls team can really compete with the top teams in the english championship or that bob bradley is an international quality coach . we need to wake up and smell the roses . we still have a lonnnng way to go . today a team like egypt which right now has two strikers scoring a bunch of goals in the best league in the world is clearly better than ours . with the exception of tim howard and gooch is hard for us to name one of our players who is an undisputed starter in europe . most of our guys are riding the pine and we are debating whether brian ching deserves better treatment . give me a break.


  • San Jose Soccer Guy

    Ching is quite dangerous if you are setting up players and tactics that work well with his play. You can’t make the call without considering who you put in the other positions, how they fit with him, and the style of attack you are going after.

    When Ching came on for the Dynamo against San Jose last time, you could see and feel what was going to happen even before it did. As an Earthquakes fan I had a lump in my throat and saw the play well before it happened. His header looked an easy goal. Brian is really good at what he is good at.

    A very dangerous man to have in the box during a cross…

    And if we had a team that worked sophisticated combinations in the area, Ching can really hold the ball up and make that last incisive pass before the shot.

    We seem to always talk about individual players & their abilities, but it is the team play and chemistry that we need: we should talk about combinations of players.


  • Jonathan

    I think Brian Ching is a pretty cool guy. Eh is a future 2010 non scoring striker and doesn’t afraid of anything.

    I think Bob Bradley is a pretty cool guy. Eh picks non scoring strikers and doesn’t afraid of anything.


  • smokeminside

    I’m late to the conversation, but I have to agree with a lot of the positive comments about Ching, as well as echo the desire of many to see other players–Altidore first comes to mind–up top. I’m less interested in Cooper, who I agree plays smaller than his size, the opposite of Ching.

    What I specifically agree w/ re: Ching is how he fits the chemistry of the current team. (Hejduk is around for the same reason, and he gets dissed all the time, too).

    The sum of the whole is greater than its parts, folks. Ching fits his role well with the team. It’ll be very interesting to see how the team composition and dynamic evolves over the next six months.


  • Ulrich

    To continue to play Ching is a mistake; unfortunately, Ching does not have the technical ability to compete on the international stage (anything other than CONCACAF) as he flubs many opportunities in front of the goal.

    The US MNT should take a lead from the German Federation. Prior to the last WC, Klinsman removed many “experienced” players and inserted young, promising players that needed seasoning. There were definitely setbacks with the results of individual games, but the players learned to play together through trial by fire. If the US MNT used this strategy, now would be the time to insert our young players to learn on the field as starters, not to come on for 15min of mop-up duty at the end of the game when goals may not necessarily be the strategy (if protecting the lead is the situation which it usually is in CONCACAF).

    Heath Pierce is the perfect example… he was a little shaky at first when he was given the chance to start, but since then he has begun to learn the position on the international stage and is the MNT go-to left back.


  • Michael F.

    Ives, I love ya and agree with you 98% of the time. But this is way off. Ching can’t beat players off the dribble, he doesn’t have the speed to burn by players and win a long ball and his skill on the ball is mediocre at best. All he does is run backwards and show for another pass, where? Backwards! He is a waste of our National Team’s time. He can head the ball but even then he’s apoor man’s McBride.

    Every minute Altidore, Cooper, Davies or Adu get on the field helps us in the short and long term way more than Ching’s time on the field does. It’s time to move on from the Ching’s of the pool and focus on the our future stars now.


  • JB Skynet

    Twellman and Ching give you the same thing, great workrate, rugged play, and a huge gulf in technical ability when it comes to the international stage. We’re a little over a year and a half away from South Africa. The young guys need to be getting some starts and getting into the flow of playing internationals. Ives, I’ll agree Ching does the little things well, if you’ll agree he’s unable to do the crucial things well…like scoring or creating goals.


  • Brokenbil

    I’m not a Dynamo fan so it’s difficult for me to get excited about Brian Ching. However, we could do worse (sorry EJ). Still, I gotta go with the folks calling for Altidore and Cooper instead. USMNT’s days of settling for good enough should be over.


  • drewski

    “Ching deserves more respect from USA fans”

    hahahahahahahah yeah right. No offense Ives, but I’m not even going to take the time to read the article. Look there are good club team players and then there’s players that get it done on the national team level. Ching does not fit in to the latter category. If I were a Dynamo fan, I’d love the guy, but as a US fan… I believe the old saying is “what have you done for me lately…”


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