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MLSPR: Ching still has much to offer

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Keith Costigan


Ching still has some gas left in the tank

The Houston Dynamo has been looking for some inspiration to kickstart its season and that is exactly what Brian Ching gave the club with a superb performance that led Dominic Kinnear’s side to a huge victory over Chicago.

Since Dwayne DeRosario’s departure, the onus has been put on Ching to be a match-winner for the Dynamo, but he has struggled with injuries and the club has suffered for it.

Ching’s confidence also took a hit when he was left out of the U.S. squad for the World Cup, but he proved against Chicago that he still has a lot left to offer when given adequate service.

At 32, Ching’s best years are behind him, but he only has to look at Brian McBride to know that he can still play at the top level for a few more years, provided he takes care of himself off the field.

Houston is entering a transitional period and there will be a lot of changes at the club in the offseason, but keeping Ching should be a priority. There is a lack of quality strikers in MLS and despite his age, Ching is still a top level forward who can play a big part in helping Houston become a contender again.

Difficult for Houston to attract a top DP

Earlier this week, AEG President Tim Leiweke gave the Houston management team the green light to go out and get a big name DP for next season.

Leiweke has asked the Dynamo to “think big” and pointed to the Galaxy’s acquisition of David Beckham and the Red Bulls recent pick-ups Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez as the kind of high profile players that Houston should be looking to add to their squad.

The idea is good in principle but Dynamo CEO Chris Canetti will find it difficult to attract big name players like Henry and Beckham because Houston is not as big a draw to foreign stars as New York and Los Angeles.

Houston is a city I have visited on several occasion and is a beautiful place, but I doubt if top European footballers coming to the end of their careers would see playing though a Texas summer as an enticing option.

There are only a handful of cities in MLS that have what it takes to attract a truly world class player, but unfortunately for Dynamo fans Houston isn't one of them.

San Jose needs to play Los Angeles every week

The San Jose Earthquakes picked up a massive victory over the Galaxy last week to give their playoff hopes a massive boost.

The Earthquakes have played the Galaxy twice over the last month and picked up four points from their two clashes. The Earthquakes have struggled to find any kind of consistency this season, but playing against their in-state rivals seems to bring the best out of San Jose.

MLS: June 23-25

Thursday, June 23
Home Road
Seattle 4-2 New York Recap
Saturday, June 25
Home Road
DC United 2-2 Houston Recap
San Jose 0-0 LA Galaxy Recap
Philadelphia 3-2 Chivas USA Recap
FC Dallas 4-0 Portland Recap
Sporting KC 2-1 Vancouver Recap
Real Salt Lake 3-1 Toronto Recap
Sunday, June 26
Home Road
Chicago 1-1 New York  
Seattle 2-1 New England Recap
Columbus 4-1 Colorado  
MLS Scores | Table | Fixtures

It must infuriate Frank Yallop to see his side play so well against one of the best sides in MLS, yet struggle so badly against some of the lesser teams in the league, and it is something that has to be addressed if this team is to make the playoffs.

The players have to shoulder a large portion of the blame for their inconsistent play and they need to perform with the same intensity every week regardless of who the opposition is.

The Earthquakes have shown us they can beat anyone in the league, and if they fail to build on the victory over L.A. and miss out on the playoff this season, it will have to go down as a failure for both Yallop and his players.

Ben Olsen doing well in a difficult situation

Ben Olsen couldn’t have picked a more difficult situation to start his coaching career, but so far the former midfielder has handled himself superbly well.

Olsen took over a dressing room that lacked drive and direction and although results haven’t been great, he has steadied the ship and helped lead D.C. to a much-needed victory over the Philadelphia Union last weekend.

D.C.’s playoff hopes were ended a long time ago, but it is still important for the players to show some pride in the jersey and Olsen’s man-management has helped them do that.

When a coach fails in his first job it can be very difficult to get another coaching opportunity so nobody could have blamed Olsen if he turned down the chance to takeover this struggling team.

Olsen has never been the type to shy away from a challenge and this experience will only help him grow as a coach. Jason Kreis has already shown that former players can step into the hot seat and be successful, and Ben Olsen is someone that has all the tools to emulate the RSL top man.

Some D.C. fans may want a big name coach to take them forward, but if given enough time, I believe Ben Olsen could be a big success in D.C.

On to this week's MLS Power Rankings

1. Real Salt Lake: RSL couldn’t have asked for more from their week away from MLS action with the Galaxy losing at San Jose last weekend.

2. Columbus Crew: Robert Warzycha's decision to rest Guillermo Barros Schelotto is a wise one as it is vital that the veteran midfielder is fresh for the playoffs.

3. FC Dallas: The fine play of Brek Shea is just one of the many bright spots in what is turning out to be a super season for FC Dallas.

4. Los Angeles Galaxy: The imminent return of the experienced David Beckham should help the Galaxy steady the ship and return to top form.

5. New York Red Bulls: The Red Bulls win at BMO Field may well have been their most impressive performance under Hans Bakke.

6. Seattle Sounders: The Sounders squad is one of the strongest in the league and it will need to be as the fixtures come thick and fast over the next few weeks.

7. San Jose Earthquakes: The Earthquakes always seem to raise their game against the Galaxy and if they played at the same high level against the rest of MLS they would be a lot higher in the Western Conference standings.

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8. Chicago Fire: The Fire has a wealth of attacking options but need to improve defensively if they are to be realistic contenders for the MLS crown.

9. Colorado Rapids: Omar Cummings' form has been average since he was linked with a move away from the Rapids and the team has struggled offensively because of it.

10. Kansas City Wizards: Birahim Diop made the most of a rare start as he powered K.C. to a vital win over fellow strugglers New England to keep the Wizards' slim playoff hopes alive.

11. Toronto FC: Toronto’s superb home run came to an end against the Red Bulls but their exertions in the midweek win over Cruz Azul had a lot to do with the loss.

12. Chivas USA: Martin Vasquez this week stated that he was very happy with his squad but I doubt if many of the Goats fans would share his love of this underachieving squad.

13. Houston Dynamo: Houston needed some inspiration to kickstart their season and that is exactly what Brian Ching provided with his superb performance against the Fire last weekend.

14. New England Revolution: The Revs knew they had to pick up something from their two matches last week but after another two losses they are now out of the playoff picture and must start to look towards next year.

15. D.C. United: D.C. gained some revenge for its early season loss to Philly with a performance that finally gave its long suffering fans something to cheer about.

16. Philadelphia Union: The Union’s form has dipped over recent weeks and their loss to D.C. highlighted the lack of real quality in the Philadelphia lineup.

Keith Costigan is a writer for covering Major League Soccer.

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