Photo by Jose L. Argueta/ISIPhotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
WASHINGTON – Brian Ching hasn't had much of a chance to contribute during his injury-plagued 2011 campaign. But the physical Houston Dynamo forward came through for his club Saturday at D.C. United, earning a penalty kick in the first half and scoring a late equalizer during his side's 2-2 draw at RFK Stadium.
Making just his second start of the season, Ching got on the end of Colin Clark's service in the 89th minute and nodded a shot toward goal that deflected off United defender Perry Kitchen and into the back of the net.
The score came at the end of a second half Houston thoroughly controlled, out-shooting D.C. by a 9-3 margin. The Dynamo, though, found itself trailing after forward Charlie Davies put United ahead in the 73rd minute.
"At that point, it's about getting the ball into the box and just trying to make a late run," Ching said. "I thought it was a deserved goal in that we had so many opportunities to tie the game."
Houston moved to 4-6-7 with the last-gasp result, retaining its one-point lead over United (4-5-6) in the Eastern Conference standings.
"All in all, when you are down a goal, all you can do is continue to fight until you get back in [the game]," Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis said. "And that's what the guys did tonight."
United had taken the lead 16 minutes before Ching's tally when Davies notched his league-leading eighth goal of the season. Celebrating his 25th birthday, Davies poked home a shot from close range after midfielder Andy Najar cut in from the flank and played the ball into a scrum in front of goal.
"Luckily, somehow, we were ahead in that game," United coach Ben Olsen said. "From the way we were most of the second half, we should have been losing. Somehow, we found a way to get another goal, but our ability with the lead is just not good enough. We have a long way to go."
Ching got the penalty kick call shortly before halftime when he shrugged off a challenge from United defender Ethan White and fell to the turf as goalkeeper Bill Hamid challenged for the ball. Davis promptly converted the 41st-minute penalty.
United midfielder Chris Pontius opened the scoring in the 31st minute with his fifth goal of the campaign when he collected a pass from Josh Wolff 25 yards from goal and buried his open shot into the lower left corner.
But to United, the result will mostly be seen as another two points dropped at RFK Stadium, where D.C. is just 2-2-4.
"We have to learn from these experiences at home," Davies said. "We have to kill of games, and it's something that we really need to harp on."