When I was asked to write a Brian Ching Tribute about a goal or a moment and pretty much what he meant to me one single moment sticks out in my mind. This wasn't the goal that Ching scored in the 2006 MLS Cup which saw Ching score a minute after Taylor Twellman and ended up sending the match to penalties (and we all know how that turned out). No, my fondest memory had to do with a rivalry I had in college with my mates in the state of Washington.
For those of you that don't know, I went to a small liberal arts college in Washington State, where I graduated with a degree in Economics. What that also entails is some of my
best friends are Seattle Sounders supporters. I mean hardcore, face painting, season ticket holding (some of them), chanting, loud, obnoxious Sounder fans that don't know when to shut it. Thankfully for them, they help pushed me into the kind of fan I am: respectful, well informed, and pretty much everything not "rave green"...or whatever color they're calling it these days. Also, they helped push me to Dynamo Theory as an outlet so I guess they can have that small victory.
Things had been tough for the Dynamo against Seattle all throughout 2009 which means every time I brought up a Dynamo win, all my friends had to say was "yeah, well you didn't beat us at all this year". The Dynamo had lost in Seattle, drew in Houston, and got knocked out of the Open Cup by Seattle that year. It is worth noting that in our 2-1 loss in Seattle, Montero's goal was actually saved off the line. I got used to saying that line, but we all know that the final score is what actually matters and my diatribe became more desperate each time I said it.
The Dynamo would get their chance at redemption in the 2009 Western Conference Semifinals. They did the hard part which was earn a scoreless draw in Seattle - a game which saw Onstad walk into Montero who acted like he got shot, now the Dynamo were at home and had a chance to move onto the Western Conference final. I was sitting in my apartment with my friends: 3 Seattle Sounder Supporters and 2 LA Galaxy fans (the LA fans were actually rooting for the Dynamo because they were also sick of our Sounder friends) and this game seemed to drag on just like the last. In extra time, Ching one timed a poor cross (or something, I still don't know what pass or clearance that ball was) and sent it into the back of the net past Kasey Keller. I still don't know how he did it; he sent it perfectly into the corner without hesitation and without really sizing the ball up. When I got up I probably flipped the couch I was so excited. I walked around the rest of the week with my Brad Davis jersey on and I finally got to tell my Seattle Sounder friends that we had beaten them that year: "We knocked you out of the playoffs!"
So to me, this tremendous goal wasn't just the game winner. It wasn't just a goal that took a lot of skill. It was a goal that helped me brag - and finally shut up my friends - and that is just so important to me. I still bring it up to them in random texts: "Remember that time Ching knocked you out of the playoffs?" Since that goal, Seattle really hasn't been the force it has been, at least against the Dynamo.
Of course, my two LA Galaxy friends would have the last laugh when they went on to beat us in the Western Conference Final., which featured lights going out and a Dynamo disallowed goal.
Anyway, here's Ching's winner against the Sounders in 2009 and it always cheers me up: