By CALEB SONNELAND
The Houston Dynamo ended Seattle's nine-game unbeaten run in MLS play Saturday night as the two sides slugged out a physical 3-1 Dynamo victory in Texas.
Coming off a red card suspension, Brian Ching notched a goal on either side of halftime to ensure three points for the Texas club for his second and third goal of the season. Ching got his first in the 23rd minute when he directed a powerful header past Kasey Keller off a Geoff Cameron cross, and finished the game off with his second in the 70th when Colin Clark fizzed a low ball across the area for the striker to smash home.
"I thought Houston was better," said Sigi Schmid. "Brian Ching showed his leadership abilities. I think he carried that team. He was the man of the match without a doubt."
Clark also had a night to remember as the 27-year-old opened scoring for the hosts early in the 7th minute when he drove a loose ball in the box past Keller before turning provider for Ching's second goal to polish off the result.
Seattle DP Alvaro Fernandez had temporarily gotten the visitors back into the game from the penalty spot in the first half after Fredy Montero was felled within the area by Corey Ashe. Fernandez converted with ease, sending Tally Hall the wrong way for the midfielder's sixth goal of the season.
Despite looking like drawing level on a handful of occasions, the Dynamo held firm and saw out the 90 minutes.
"I’m really happy for the guys," said Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear. "I told them afterwards I think it’s the best we have played this year. Energy was good, enthusiasm was excellent, and we scored a couple good goals in the beginning of the game, which gave us some energy and confidence.
"We had some scary moments there, but, all and all, I thought we played very well tonight, and I’m happy for the guys.”
The loss marks the third straight for Seattle in all competitions, conceding 11 goals in three games. The Sounders still sits third in the West.
Despite enduring May and June with just a lone win, Houston has eight points in its last five matches with two wins, two draws and a loss. The club currently sits fifth in the East, level with Sporting Kansas City on points but a goal behind on goal difference.
What did you think of the game? How impressive was Ching's performance? Is Seattle on a slide?