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Late Ching penalty kick lifts Dynamo past Union

BrianChingPK (Getty)

A hard-fought battle at BBVA Compass Stadium looked destined to end in a draw, but a questionable penalty kick paved the way for Brian Ching to deliver a winner and score his first goal at the Houston Dynamo's new stadium.

A penalty call against Philadelphia's Gabriel Farfan in the 81st minute for a collision with Ching set up a decisive spot kick for Ching, who calmly converted to help give the Dynamo a 2-1 victory on Saturday night.

The win helped snap Houston's recent funk and moved the Dynamo into fifth place in the East. The defeat was a painful one for a Union side that was looking to build on an outstanding week that included routs against Sporting Kansas City and in U.S. Open Cup play against the Harrisburg City Islanders.

New Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia made a memorable debut for Houston when he set up Brad Davis' opening goal in the first half, but Keon Daniel helped erase the Union's deficit with his own outstanding goal.

The Union looked to be on their way to a valuable road point before the referee pointed to the spot after Farfan appeared to run into Ching from behind in the penalty area.

Here are the match highlights:

What did you think of the match? Disappointed with the late penalty call, or did you think it was a fair decision? Impressed with Houston's new designated player? Like what you saw from the Union?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Re: the PK, it was a foul and it was in the box. It was a good call. The defender didn’t play the ball, he elbow-slammed Ching from behind. Thing was, he didn’t need to do anything but get goalside. Ching wasn’t going to score with the ball coming that high. But the ref was a newbie and looked like he wouldn’t make game-changing calls, so the defender gambled the ref didn’t have the cajones to call that foul, since the foul was in the box. He gambled on the ref’s naivete and lost.

    Boniek looked great. Ching wasn’t the MOTM. Dynamo win another at home (after Dallas), not on their own talent, but on a mistake by the opponent. Union should’ve had 2 more goals.

  2. Wow! For once, I agree with you. Boniek, Kandji, Davis, and Cameron played better, harder, and longer than Ching. I love Ching but he does go down a little easy for a big guy but the thing is, he gets injured so much so most of the time he goes down has to be legit right? Plus, he rarely gets the call when he goes down in the box, glad he did though. Boniek looks like a really good player, he’s a good pick up for Houston.

  3. If you really watched this multiple time you would know farfan made contact with his out stretched right elbow not his sholder. Ching waited for the contact and then threw himself forward while kicking his legs out behind him. At no time did Ching attempt to make a play for the ball or move his feet to attempt to steady himself or regain balance. It was a veteran move that paid off; that being said it was still a dive. It seems almost every week there is at least one dive in the box resulting in a PK that has a huge impact on the game. MLS needs to start calling dives across the board as it is embarassing to watch a north american game played as if it was in south or central america. Until refs stop calling dives it wont stop.

  4. Man, all due respect, but Ching’s efforts amounted to getting shoved over a couple times and hitting a shaky penalty in off the crossbar. The local TV coverage called him MOTM but compared to Boniek, Kandji, or Cameron, his contribution was minimal, if pivotal.

  5. PD, I just think that’s flawed logic. You completely negate what happened on the play because of previous similar instances? I could use that point to argue that the ref finally gave in and made a call after many missed calls. The fact remains that Farfan did not play the ball and Ching smartly took advantage of his better position. Oh and btw, we’ve been on the wrong side of penalty calls this season too. We’ve lost points in a similar fashion and sometimes you are left to blame your defender.

  6. Great play by Ching, I dont know if it was a dumb play by the defender. Ching initially looked as if to play it with the head, in which case the defender would have wanted to body him up with more force. A ball that both players play with the head generally gets more leeway with the ref on contact. Instead Ching plays it down with his chest in which case the contact is judged differently.

  7. That kind of pushing might take place in a mosh pit on a corner but you are less likely to get away with shoving over someone all by his lonesome.

    It’s not a 50/50 because Ching has position and Garfan just runs him over up his back. If he was trying to play ball with a reaching leg I’d understand but he was trying to body up on someone who had position, and he knocked them over, and there’s no one around like on a corner where the ref can only tell himself he didn’t quite see it.

    There were also bodies flying around like Boniek — right before the foul — where the ref may be thinking this is some sort of harsh tactic he won’t tolerate.

  8. Repeat offense by the defense, look at Davis getting clobbered by a man not even playing the ball so the keeper could catch one.

    Plus the guy is by himself so it’s hard to ignore.

  9. There were a few times they just bowled people over, including Davis in the 6 on a loose ball. Played with Fire (wait, that’s Tuesday).

  10. I understand that it’s a call-able foul, my point in calling it BS is this:

    That kind of jostling for a ball goes on all the time in a game. I bet if you go back through the match you can find at least 4 or 5 instances where the exact same kind of okay happened, if Garfan had been given a warning or was whistled for an earlier play in a similar fashion, then I’d be a little less persistent about this, but in watching the entire match this call was much more stringent and I felt unnecessary–hence the “BS” title.

    It’s two minutes from tie, it was a 50/50 all. In making that call you effectively decide the game.

    And I said it before–can’t wait to hear how all these clear eyes Dynamoanians will kvetch once they get a point or three stolen from them thanks to a ref who makes a questionable call.

  11. Thought that penalty was a flop initially, but I’ve watched it plenty of times at this point and that was a good call. Clearly the defender made no effort to play the ball. His feet never left the ground and he just rams his shoulder into Ching’s back. The ref had no choice. DUMB play by the defender. Simple.

  12. The call was legit.

    Garfan makes no attempt to play the ball, turns his body and shoulder checks Ching who is off his feet to chest the ball down. Unquestionable foul anywhere on the pitch. Unquestionable PK in the penalty area.

    Sounds like you need to rationalize it to yourself.

  13. Pure BS call. Rationalize it any way you want, but I doubt those in favor of the call will be have as philosophical about it when karma comes back around on Houston.

    MLS should spend DP money on training refs. The quality of the players is steadily improving, but the gap in refereeing is still as wide.

  14. That is foolish to say that wasn’t a penalty. He simply outsmarted the defender by not going up for the header. The defender expected it and went for it. Ching stood his ground and instead of moving forward and up, chested it down drawing a clear foul. That’s a foul anywhere on the field. It was one of those penalties that was unfortunate for the defender but one the referee must make.

  15. Look again, in slow motion. Clearly a foul and therefore a penalty.

    Yes, terrible ref – should have been the second or even third penalty given Dynamo!

  16. Yeah, that call was soft but it looked to be a ‘cumulative’ call more than anything. He held his whistle several times.

  17. In all fairness, the Union should have finished more clinically on a couple of great chances. However, that PK was ri-gosh-darn-diculous. Bogus call.

    Clearly missed Jack Mc and Gaddis. Would have been a different game.


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