Soccer Science: Diagnosing Ching

HOUSTON - MAY 15: Brian Ching #25 of the Houston Dynamo reacts after missing a goal opportunity late in the second half against the Portland Timbers at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 15, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

I spent the last glorious week post-graduation curled up in a fetal position in my room back in Houston. As if my body finally relented to the exhaustion of 4 years of college, I was stricken by a sudden illness the afternoon of my return. Now, I get colds from time to time, but rarely have I been this sick. So rare, in fact, that it threw my mother into a state of severe concern - the offending virus must have been terrible if it was able to crack my solid foundation of an immune system, she thought. Thus, a list of proposed attackers was compiled by my friends and family to explain the occurrence:

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, West Nile Virus, Mono, Malaria.

Nice, right? I felt like some poor patient on House, being poked and prodded (verbally) with tests for the worst diseases in the world. Well, I'm fine, and the break did allow me to soak in a ton of soccer. In the haze of sickness, Dynamo, and my resemblance to a House patient, I believe I solved a recent nagging question: Why has Ching been missing a LOT lately? And by solved, I mean I'll point it out (check), give the cause, and give a prediction of when we can hope it will end.

All after the jump, friends.

If you don't watch House on a regular basis, here's a quick intro. Brilliant but disturbed physician Greg House is given some impossible case. His team of doc's proposes disease after disease on a dry-erase board, most of which are disregarded within seconds as illogical. Then, finally, after some epiphany, he finds the cure. Usually with the help of Vicadin, but that's not important here. What is interesting is that one possible diagnosis is always proposed, but is never the actual disease - Sarcoidosis. Its become so absurdly over-proposed that there is a facebook page honoring the diagnosis, and a Cracked writer recently suggested that a fitting end to the series would have House dying from it, but his proteges failing to propose it (note: that didn't happen, with the writers opting for the mooshy, off into the sunset finale...lame).

Sarcoidosis is autoimmune in origin. Inflammatory agents cluster together and form Granulomas, improper collections of tissue, in any part of the body. This messes with the regular goings-on in the body, and can be very uncomfortable. The cause is not understood well, but one possibility is the over-response of the body to an invader - as is common in autoimmune disorders. The idea is simple - your body flips out and produces a lot of warriors against an invading cell, but these warriors are still around after they've won the proverbial "war". Then, they can mistake a part of your body for an invader and attack. Disease follows, things get bad.

Its the same thing with Ching over the past three matches. I'll be the first to say that he hasn't been horrible, but he has been anything but clinical in the final 18. Two huge misses against DC, one big miss against Portland, and one big miss against New England.

Time for some hypothesizin' : we built up the opening of BBVA to be Ching's Greatest Day. He opened and closed Robertson with fantastic displays of predatory scoring, and with El Banco all but named after him, it would have been a fairy tale ending (or beginning) for him to score the first. Public pressure built and built, and it left Brian searching for that same magic moment. It didn't happen once, twice, three times. Its like with Sarcoidosis. He over-prepared for a glorious victory, only to damage himself in the process. Which is frustrating, but not terrible. Its simply out of character for him.

Now time for some Prognosticatin' : he will score this week. Call me a jinx or whatever, but I think his sublime (the lob version of the overused "cheeky" adjective) assist for Camargo this week was a statement of intent. With the Galaxy on the decline, and the first month of BBVA coming to a close (besides the Valencia match), Ching can seal himself some tasty history with a winner against LA. The problem, thus far, has been our continual service to Ching on the ground. This forces him to attempt off-balance finishes with the goal slightly behind him. Surely, we've noticed this, and also noticed that Ching is very good in the air. Cueing up more late crosses in the box will result in a delicious home opening goal for Brian. Do I have proof of this? Nope. But medically, the treatment for Sarcoidosis is time. That, or steroids, which I don't believe is an option.

Summer Book Quote of the Week

I've decided to read all of the books that I could ever want to read this summer, as my time for leisurely reading will surely hit "0" once med school starts. And, what better way to spread the love than to share quotes from each book-o-the-week? Answer: none, as long as its not from 50 Shades of Grey.

On the ready-made pickup lines given by bookstore sections...

Bookstores have always been a great place for liars and sexual predators

-Chuck Klosterman in Fargo Rock City

It Helps to Study

Petr Cech had a video compiled of every Bayern Munich penalty taken since 2007. Then he studied it ad nauseum to understand every tendency of every kicker. That is how you beat a German team in PK's. Also, he is gargantuan. Also, his helmet, which if we know anything from Calen, confers superpowers in times of need.

Anchorman 2, You Guys...

Fashion Forward Moment of the Week

A few people pointed this out during the Champs League final, and I'm certainly quite behind the times on this one, but the Bayern kit looks a helluva lot like our 3rd, eh? Sure, its more red, and I think the pinstripes are less defined, but its pretty close. Gave me a good idea of what ours will look like under the bright lights of the MLS. Conclusion: I'm excited.

Apropos Hip Hop Video of the Week


Video Courtesy of bgjoker

Ooh, Ching, things are gonna get easier. This isn't doom and gloom for Brian by any means - away from home he took the right step forward with an assist on the equalizer. Heading home, in front of a sell-out crowd, Ching is primed for a big moment against the Galaxy sans Landycakes.

Did the pressure of public perception get to him with the opening of El Banco? Eh, maybe. But time heals all wounds, especially Sarcoidosis (even if it is just metaphorical). Time for Brian to step out in a big way with a winner.

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