Ching deserves more respect from USA fans


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When the U.S. men’s national team takes on Cuba on Saturday there is a very good chance that Brian Ching will be starting up top for the Americans.

That doesn’t sit to well with U.S. fans who have their hearts set on seeing newcomers like Jozy Altidore, Charlie Davies and Kenny Cooper.

While it is natural to want to see new players emerge, writing off Ching as a starter ignores the fact that he is actualy on very good form and the most qualified striker in the U.S. national team pool.

Ching has enjoyed a strong 2008 season with Houston, posting 12 goals and five assists. The dozen goals is the most in MLS by a player on a winning team. He has been a central figure in the Dynamo’s back-to-back championships and has developed a good partnership with U.S. national teammate Landon Donovan.

All these things are why Ching deserves the call-ups and deserves to start. Yes, Altidore has all the potential in the world, and his time is coming, but right now Ching has the combination of form and experience that makes him the easy choice to start.

No, Ching isn’t a goal machine, and isn’t as flashy as some of his younger counterparts, but he still contributes in valuable ways. Take the Guatemala qualifier in August. Ching didn’t score in the 1-0 victory but he did set the pick that freed Carlos Bocanegra for the game-winning goal and it was Ching who held up the ball so well and tracked back to defend as well.

As for whether Ching can be clutch, I can think of three instances that I saw in person that were good evidence of his ability to perform under pressure. The first was with the U.S. national team in a qualifier against Jamaica in Kingston. Ching came on as a late substitute and delivered an equalizer in his first World Cup qualifying appearance.

Some three years later, in the 2006 MLS Cup, Ching equalized in overtime just seconds after New England scored what looked to be the Cup-winning goal. With the Revs celebrating, and some of Ching’s teammates sulking, Ching scored the equalizing goal and eventual game-winning penalty that helped deliver Houston’s first title.

Then there was the 2007 Gold Cup final, when the U.S. men’s national team trailed Mexico 1-0 in front of a sold-out pro-Mexico crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago. Ching drew a crucial penalty call that Donovan converted to give the Americans an equalizer in a match the U.S. team went on to win.

These are just some of the clutch moments in a career that hasn’t gotten anywhere near the respect it deserves.

At 30, Ching may not be considered a viable option for the U.S. team in 2010, but right now it’s really hard to argue against him continuing to start. Altidore and Cooper, the two heirs to the national team’s target striker throne will have adequate chance prior to the Hexagonal to show Bob Bradley that they’re capable of doing what Ching does, and more, but right now the job is Ching’s and he deserves it.

What do you think of Ching as a U.S. national team starter? Do you think he’s underrated? Think he is the best option at the moment? Think he should be benched in favor of the young guys? Do you feel comfortable with him holding down the jobs until the young guns are ready?

Share your thoughts below.

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114 Responses to Ching deserves more respect from USA fans

  1. matt says:

    Ching is decent, and I can see the wisdom in starting him in the first three WC Qualifiers, but now that US advancement to the Hex is practically a foregone conclusion, I say it’s time to give some new faces a shot. (Cooper, Altidore, and Davies)

  2. Dave says:

    I think Brian’s a solid player and does a decent job a holding up the ball. I would have no qualms with him getting pt in the hex, but these next few games need to have the young boys making starts.

  3. JPCsoccer says:

    Agreed and well stated. I have always been a ching fan and i think that he does alot of dirty work that goes unnoticed. Keep on capping him until someone else produces!

  4. John says:

    That was perfectly summed up from my point of view Ives. I can’t forget the goal in the WCQ in Jamaica. We had nothing going and no business walking out with the point that Ching got us. Just for that one moment he deserves to play some role in qualifiers as long as he still wants to.

  5. jmac says:

    Agreed, Agreed, and Agreed, Ives. Let me throw in an Amen.

  6. RapidsMan says:

    After watching him and his mates dive over and over Saturday night I hate them all for ruining football for us all.

    No, I not mad just because we lost. I understand the best team won.

    But dive after dive from these guys pissed me off.

    F*ck Ching and the Dive’amo’s.

    Playing in Mexico a bit too much I guess…what more could I expect.

  7. A.S. says:

    “No, Ching isn’t a goal machine…”

    But that’s a BIG PROBLEM for a center forward!

    I mean, if you said about a goalie “no, he isn’t a great shot stopper…”, whatever comes next really misses the point.

    Of course we know that, right now in international play, Ching is better than the other forwards we’ve seen repeatedly – Twellman or Johnson or whoever. But that’s the point – we want to know whether the young guys are “goal machines”. That’s the primary purpose of a center forward.

  8. Brett says:

    I think it’s simple. We used him in the qualifiers that mattered, now we have 9 points from 3 games. These upcoming games are a chance for us to get the guys that WILL be starting come 2010 plenty of experience. Why waste it on someone who surely won’t be a starter in the matches that REALLY matter (see: the World Cup).

    We should give a 4-1-2-1-2 a try. Edu or Bradley at DM, Dempsey and Beasley (+ youngsters) on the wings, Donovan and/or Adu as the attacking mid, and pair Ching with someone like Altidore or Cooper up top. Ching plays and so does a newcomer.

  9. kpugs says:

    Ching may not have one great aspect of his game, but every single aspect of his game is pretty good. That is something you just can’t say about almost any other American forward.

    A.S., goalies play hockey.

  10. JL says:

    Eh, I still don’t think a team of the US’s caliber should be rolling him out as a starter, especially against the weaker teams in the region. I think those are the time you should be looking at options that can help you in the next round, and the next World Cup. This is the problem with the US in the past, is they rely on guys in qualifiying who won’t be able to contribute against the better teams in the world, and as a result they give the tired excuse that the younger, more talented players just don’t have enough experience. Look I think Ching is a decent player, and he could be a nice option off the bench if you need someone to hold on to the ball, to hold on to a lead…or to lump it forward in hopes of scoring a late goal. But over 80-90 mins, at the International level, he just doesn’t do enough.

    And the stat about him leading the league in goals while playing for a winning team is a pointless stat. So what does that prove exactly? That his teammates are better than the other goal scorers, and as such he sees less focus on him? Or that he plays for a winning team and provides a winning attitude to the national team? Either way, its insignificant.

    An interesting topic non the less Ives

  11. Frank the Frowner says:

    SOrry Ives, Ching sucks. He’s fine for MLS vs MLS defenders, but against International competition, he’s a joke. Outside of horrendous CONCACAF.

  12. RSLfan says:

    I love me some Brian Ching, best player ever. But seriously, even as an RSL fan I love him. I think after the Cuba game we will be able to see plenty of new faces in the final two group games, especially with the Dynamo looking likely to have another lengthy appearance in the MLS Cup playoffs.

  13. nate says:

    The penalty Ching drew in the Gold Cup Final was dubious to say the least, and a few minutes later he completely flubbed a shot in front of an open goal. Probably the worst miss I have ever witnessed in person, aside from the Beasley miss from 2 yards in the same game.

  14. Robert says:

    He’s cool, I guess. Kinda the Brian McBride (experience wise) of the attacking front right now.

  15. A.S. says:

    “A.S., goalies play hockey.”


  16. filfisher says:

    Huh? Ives you’re missing the point. Every game Ching plays is one less opportunity to get Altidore more USMNT experience.

  17. Sandro says:

    I agree with a lot of posters here, Brian Ching is a good solid player. But at the same time we should test out the new players and see what they can do. I think it is fine for Ching to start and then bring in Jozy, etc. But eventually we should get the young guys into the mix to find out how they perform. But overall I am happy with Ching. Good piece on Brian Ching, Ives! Keep up the good work.

  18. Paul says:

    I was not a Ching fan at first, but his toughness and his ability and willingness to do a lot of the important little things have turned me around. I think he has solified his spot on the long-term roster. That said — and assuming that Altidore deserves some serious playing time — when do the new guys get their chance? After the US clinches a spot in the Hex? If they win and thus clinch on Saturday, I think the remaining two matches in this round will be a great time to fold Altidore into the squad. The matches may be meaningless for the US, but will certainly mean something to the opponents.

  19. Ryan says:

    At the end of the day, Brian Ching is not going to score goals.

    Considering that Bob Bradley plays 5 mids and 1 forward, having Ching alone up top gives the US very little ability to put the ball in the net.

    He’s a nice MLS player, but he just doesn’t cut it at the international level.

  20. Aquaman says:

    It’s telling that the best of the examples you provide are from his MLS career or his national team career 5 years ago. I think that if you say that Ching deserves a chance based on his MLS form, then you have an argument for bringing in Cooper all the time too. You can train a big body to set a pick or dive to draw a penalty but you can’t teach them to score goals on a regular basis. If Ching isn’t producing as a center forward he just does not deserve a call up to the national team right now. Sure he deserves our respect for all he gave us in the past, but why not try something new if Ching just isn’t working out in national team games right now?

  21. Jacob says:

    Completely off topic, I know, but for some reason I think this is cool and kind of big:

    Right now the “Streak for the Cash” deal on the ESPN front page is the number of total goals in the Montreal-Joe Public CCL game tonight.

  22. Rob Usry says:

    Ching is a great MLS player, there’s his respect. Start Jozy.

  23. Squard says:

    Well, he’s better than Eddie Johnson..,

    The real problem is that there are no “goal machines” on the US team. That’s why we all want to see what Altidore, Davies and Cooper can do.

  24. John says:

    Ching is a safe option for the US team since he can contribute even when he’s not being a individual goal threat. The other players at least are teasing us that they could be game breakers due to their speed and technical abilities. Now that the US is assure of moving forward (or nearly there) they will experiment a bit.

  25. Ethan Helm says:

    Bravo! Ching makes the players around him better. He has more heart than any attacker in the pool, and he is the best forward we have in the box. He is the closest thing we have to McBride right now, and although he is not McBride, he deserves to be there. Good call Ives.

  26. Jacob A. says:

    Every point Ives makes is pretty much spot on, but as is the point that it’s time for Jozy to start working in there.

  27. JSquaredNY says:

    Definitely agree with this piece. His is the most viable option for the time being and he’s a heck-of-a-lot better than Eddie Johnson. If I never see EJ in a Nat’l Team uniform, it’d be great.

    Altidore and Cooper’s time will come.

  28. A.S. says:

    “Ching may not have one great aspect of his game, but every single aspect of his game is pretty good. That is something you just can’t say about almost any other American forward.”

    BTW, kpugs, you (like Ives) are missing the point.

    The most important thing is that we *just don’t know* whether Altidore, Davies, and Cooper are at least “pretty good”. In fact, they may well be very good goal scorers and pretty good at everything else. Who knows – they have, what, 8 caps among them.

    I’m sure that every single person clamoring for them is aware that Ching is a better option than EJ, Josh Wolff, and the other forwards who have gotten caps over the years. Ives don’t have to have a whole post convincing anybody of that. We all know it.

    What we don’t know is how good Altidore, Davies, and Cooper are. They well may be better options than Ching – because, who knows, they may do all the little things that Ching does PLUS SCORE GOALS – but we’ll never know if Bradley refuses to use them.

  29. Rudy says:

    I have no real problem with Ching in the short term. Eddie Johnson, on the other hand….

  30. Julio says:

    Ching is a stiff, sorry man. The guy is in great shape and plays hard but people in my local park play hard that does not mean they should be starting for our National Team. My point is he is a nice player but he is a stiff. Let’s face it, he is on the team as a starter because he is Landy Cakes (Landon Donovan) Best friend.

  31. Johnny says:

    My understanding is that US fans frustration with Brian Ching stems from not from Ching himself, but with their frustration that Ching is the best the team can come up with. When US fans want to compare USSoccer with the best teams in Europe, they end up unfairly stacking Ching up against Toni of Italy, Klose of Germany, and Rooney of England. We clamor for Jozy and Cooper in the hope one of them will be the savior striker we’ve been waiting for. But I agree that Ching is a decent stopgap as we wait for the incarnation of the American Thierry Henry or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Plus, without him, the team might be relying on someone like EJ or Taylor Twellman!

  32. Brett says:

    To the people talking about how much heart and hustle and etc. he has: Do you really think that if we give guys like Altidore and Cooper a chance, they won’t have heart? There are very few players who don’t give 110% whenever they suit up for their country. A youngster like Altidore would give 120%.

  33. Reid says:

    Was never really a fan b4 the gold cup, and then this past WCQ’ers he has earned my respect. I would love to see Davies playing off of Ching on saturday. If he does start i’ll be happy. His toughness and work rate is something that is needed in qualifiers (especially road qualifiers) in CONCACAF.

  34. Nah, this still hasn’t changed my mind.

    Ching is a fantastic MLS player, but his work (or any other FWD’s) with the Nats by no means justifies him being a lock on the roster, let alone starting.

    If we had that great target striker we all want, Ching would probably be the best guy to partner with him up top, but as things are today, I don’t think he’s what we need.

  35. Angel says:


    you right he has experience and he had help Dynimo win the MLS Championship, but is time to bring new faces and try new striker. I’m not saying to forget about him we all know what he can do and at least he is much better than EJ and Twellman in the National team. Look we have Jesus (Chucho)Ramirez the coach of the U17 – U20 of Mexico here in California looking for new Mexican/American players. Looking for new talent so he can bring them to Mexico for try outs. Come on see thats why we start Crying out loud that players like Castillo play for Mexican Team. If we don’t bring new faces to or go out to look for new talent we will loose them to Mexico or other Countries. So is time to Cap new players

  36. DeLarge says:

    The only problem with Ching is that he’s no Brian McBride. I have tons of respect for the guy, and he’ll be great coming off the bench in S. Africa.

  37. Tim F. says:

    Ching used to have incredible chemistry with Donovan. Have seen much of it of late to the point I’m ready to give other forwards a shot.

  38. Ted says:

    Something a lot of people don’t understand is that a forward, especially in the system Bob plays, is responsible for much more than scoring goals.

    It begins with holding the ball up and includes creating space for the midfielders to run in to, along with a multitude of other things. Ching is the best bet right now. He is clearly a better choice than Twellman or Johnson.

    Despite current domestic form (Cooper), form in a suspect foreign league (Davies) and glimpses of promise (Altidore), we don’t know that they will do in a pressure situation in a road WCQ. We know what Ching does, and he does it well.

    Altidore, Cooper and Davies will all get their chance. A lot will change come 2010. Ching might not even be on the team, and all three of the younger players are likely to have a lot of experience internationally.

  39. cowtown says:

    An interesting note: Brian Ching is from Hawaii.


  40. Yokel says:

    We know what Ching does….? Oh do we? We know he doesn’t score in international play. Give someone else a shot already.

  41. brett says:

    the fact is at this point we do not need to start Chingy…. i love his work rate, and the little things he does, but we definately want to see some young blood in there against a traveling Cuban side…. i mean if we cant take the chance at starting Jozy or Daviess up top against Cuba, what are the odds we will against Honduras or Mexico in the Hex?? Ching will get his games to come, but these three we NEED to explore different options..

  42. northzax says:

    if Cooper played like Ching, he’d be a guaranteed starter. Ching plays like a big, target forward, throws his weight around, takes on defenders, and generally goes all out. He just doesn’t have the finishing talent to be really good. Cooper is almost the exact opposite, a big guy who plays like a little guy. until he learns to start throwing himself around like Ching and Altidore, Kenny is never going to sniff the pitch for the Nats or achieve his real potential as a striker.

  43. Aquaman says:

    So, Ted, Ching is focusing on the much more rather than the scoring goals part. Seems the less efficient way to go after the “much more than scoring goals” label. I think if you’re going to play a forward who is going to hold the ball and do these little things, then you’re going to need someone to make runs off him. Bradley is intent on using the two DM system, limiting the runs from midfielders off his hold-up play, and either Dempsey or Donovan is forced out wide, preventing their involvement. I think if Ching is put in to do things other than score goals, then Bradley has to use a line-up that is better suited to play off of his unique style of play. Basically, if all Ching is going to do is set up other players to score, then he needs to be partnered with someone who will take those opportunities and score, otherwise we have an attack that’s holding up the ball to be taken away by a defender.

  44. Chris says:

    We KNOW that Ching is not the answer, so until we have ruled out other options, why on earth would we continue to give him valuable playing time?

    Maybe Ching in the end is the best of the worst, but you have to give other strikers, especiall those who continue to out perform Ching in the MLS a chance.

    You stated that Ching is the only player with double digit goals on a winning team, as if being on a winning team makes it harder to score goals. Ronaldo wouldn’t be scoring 25 goals if he were playing on Stoke, and Ching wouldn’t have 12 goals if he were playing on the Fire let alone FCD.

    Ching isn’t EJ, but why not see what we have and fall back on him as a last resort.

  45. Tom P says:

    You are right Ives 100%. However, U.S. national team fans, although we are a small group in numbers, hate on their players like a FIFA top ten national side.

    I think the dislike of Ching rings of the general dissatisfaction in our failure to improve on the international level since WC 2002. Ching is just the fall guy and if it wasn’t him we would be jumping on Donovan again or somebody else.

  46. peter says:

    I think our general contempt toward Bradley’s refusal to try out some of the younger guys has been confused with dislike for Ching. Ching is the man, an MLS legend and a decent international player who has contributed in big ways to US soccer both in the MLS and for the Nats. I think he was the right choice in previous WCQ’s for his toughness, experience, and ability to hold the ball up. However, given our current situation in WCQs, it is time to play some of our younger talent to prepare them for major roles in 2010 World Cup. Period.

  47. Mike Wall says:

    I agree that he is a player who has a part to play in the mens national team. Ching deserves some respect, because he does a great job of holding the ball, controlling possession, and slowing the game down. I don’t think I would start him, but I would certainly have no problem with him coming on late in games when we are ahead to provide some stability when teams are coming at us with everything they have. I understand what you are saying, would still prefer to see Jozy start, but Ching definitely has a part to play as well.

  48. Chris says:

    “A youngster like Altidore would give 120%.”

    100% effort, 20% bad math.

  49. BJR says:

    northzax, go watch Cooper’s goal against DC. It’d be nice to have a big forward who can play as a target AND has some skill to go with it.

    My problem is not with Ching, I think that he is a solid forward and as such, should have a supporting role on the team. My problem is with Bradley’s judgment of the forward pool: calling in Johnson and Ching repeatedly, while leaving out other viable options who, if given the chance, might be more productive on the field for us. I think Cooper has *earned* at least a look based on his form this season, and is getting an unfair shake from Mr. B.

  50. Garrett says:

    True, I have been a harsh Ching critic due to his ‘slo-motion’ nature at times and he has knocks that he doesn’t use his body well enough outside of headers.

    But I’m coming around… heck, if we’re giving EJ 100 chances we should at least give Ching 1/2 that and he has proven that he’s capable but not deadly. I’d prefer his as a lone-striker to Davies anyday. Kenny Coop needs a bit more seasoning and to use his massive build more. Alti’s time will come.

  51. northzax says:

    BJR, I saw it. so did Bob Bradley. And he’s also seen all the other times when Cooper doesn’t play within the type of system needed. or are you suggesting that Cooper is such a talent that we should alter the team’s style just for him? I feel for the guy, but he’s simply not going to play in Bradley’s system without demonstrating that he is changing his game. And frankly, his spot will likely belong to Altidore who is the same type of player but much better at it.

  52. seanlb says:

    ching is the best. and

    re: rapidsman you suck a lot.

  53. Aggies4Garcia says:

    The question still stands…Why do you start someone who will have virtually no impact on 2010 World Cup competition.

    Use the easily winnable games with little consequence if lost, to give Cooper, Altidore, Davies, and other players a chance.

    Point being…If you eat roman noodles to get you through the week, why not try the local taco stand when you are high?

    There is virtually no consequence. You’ve still got the Roman Noodles, just in case.

  54. green says:

    As a long time SJ fan, Ching has had my respect for many years. He’s a guy who has much respect for the fans (well up until he wanted to rub a goal in the faces of a few SJ fans a couple weeks back, grow up dude, besides you didn’t even play a cup final for us) sticking around to sign autographs and take pictures long after the game. He gives his all every day and doesn’t hold back on the field.

    That being said. . . it’s really time to move on. He just doesn’t bring that much to the attack anymore. Does anyone think that opposing sides are really worried about the guy who doesn’t score goals? If your a striker and can’t score your done. Thanks for all you’ve given us fans in the past, I for one appreciate it, now have a nice career in Houston.

  55. JP says:

    Ching is an example of the mediocre forwards the USA is producing. We’ve seen what he can do, we’re not excited by it, and it’s time to keep looking elsewhere.

  56. Jerry says:

    Nobody is saying Ching should be the starter forever. He’s the best option to start TODAY. I want to see Jozy and Cooper and Davies too but anyone saying those guys should be getting starts when the team still hasn’t qualified for the Hex is crazy.

  57. Mannix says:

    Ching is fine but it won’t be hard for the US to qualify for the WC so his form is irrelevant. What matters is young players getting minutes and maybe, just maybe the US can find a strike partnership that works and will lead to success in games that matter (which is pretty much only the World Cup)

  58. brett says:

    northzax – Cooper may not play like a big guy, but he does take players on… in fact thats how he scores 90% of his goals… his technical ability far surpasses Ching’s…. hence why i always think comparing the two is folly…

  59. rob says:

    agree with you ives

  60. Aquaman says:

    Northzax – I think that that is precisely the problem here. I think Ching’s style of play is not suited for this system. Ching’s hold-up play and lay-offs are fantastic, but he’s not playing alongside anyone that will finish those…he’s actually not playing alongside anyone. Add to that the fact that the two deep lying midfielders that Bradley likes to use, limits his pass off options even more. I don’t know the answer as to which other striker does have the correct characteristics (mostly because we’ve only seen two play up there), but the fact is that a lone striker must be able to create his own chances if there are no runs to lay off too and he must create goals off the service of others. I don’t see Ching as being able to create scoring chances for himself off of inlet passes, but he can off crosses from the outside and he can hold and create for others. Bottom line, either the formation has to change to not leave Ching on an island, holding the ball for no one, or the player has to change to someone who can hold the ball for no one and/or create off of inlet passes and crosses from team mates. I think there’s a plethora of problems that leave the US team in its current situation, not just Ching. I think Ching could be a much better option if the formation was changed and he got better service, but that’s not going to happen from Dempsey and Beasley is just now coming back from injury.

  61. jmac says:

    northzax hits the nail right on the head about Cooper– he plays small for his size. I frustrates me that all the Cooper lovers fail to acknowledge this at all. Simply put, Ching > Cooper.

  62. brett says:

    Jerry – im sorry, but if we cant express confidence in our other forwards against the likes of Cuba, when do you expect us to??

    we are going to be facing harder opposition in the Hex… with our forwards not being the reason we’ve won 3 games, why on earth would it matter if we changed them?? i like ching, but there will be hex games where we will need him….

  63. Rafael says:

    I hope Bradley is only waiting to make it official that the US team has advanced to the next round. Because I’m tired of watching players like Ching, Johnson, taking roster spots to younger players who could help the team in South Africa.

  64. Jack says:

    The problem with Ching getting starts right now is that he’s a known quantity. He’s a strong forward who can hold up the ball, wins some headers, and (very) occasionally poke one in the net.

    We’ve got some unknowns out there, like Davies and Cooper and to a lesser extent Altidore.

    We know what Brian Ching can do. We’re not too impressed. We’re anxious to know what these younger folks can do.

  65. Joamiq says:

    Ching definitely deserves more respect from US fans. At the same time, there’s no way to excuse his inability to pull the trigger/put away sitters in recent games. It’s not like just because he does well holding the ball up we can ignore the fact that like all strikers, regardless of his role, he should be able to put easy chances away.

  66. Betinho says:

    Got here late and didn’t read everyone elses comments so forgive me if this has been said.

    Right on, Ives!!! I’m a big Ching fan. He’s the hardest working forward in the MLS. The guy is the Frankie Hejduk of forwards. The only guy I think that matches his heart is McBride. There is not one player in the pool that plays the position with the grit and determination that he does. Cooper and Altidore needs to take notes from him. If they can add what he has to their game….yee haw for the USA!

  67. GMO says:

    I think that Ching will start this game and if we win, then the next two he may give way to the young guns.

    My sentiment: Ching bores me, Altidore/Adu/Davies/Cooper excite me.

    I think the reason people here are excited about Cooper is that he is the same build as Ching, but offers a tone more speed and ability with the ball at the feet. So their disappointment with cooper is legitimate.

  68. brett says:

    jmac – sorry but Ching plays along side a better squad in the MLS and has fewer goals… Cooper produces far more opportunities out of nothing, and has more goals this season….

    i am not saying one is better then the other, i am merely saying they are 2 DIFFERENT players who playe 2 DIFFERENT style of play…. cooper is technically gifted, while ching is a straight blue-collared player….

    i just think its folly to state one is better merely on physical prowess…. perhaps if we looked at a wider array of abilities then “he doesnt play like a big guy”…

  69. I say, let him help us to the next round.

    If we clinch our berth into the next round on Saturday, use the last 2 games for the newcomers to be tested.

    It is about qualifying to the next round right now.

  70. green says:

    “. . . in a career that hasn’t gotten anywhere near the respect it deserves.”


    Based on. . . ?

    What exactly would qualify as deserved respect?

    Not trying to be picky, but I find it hard to understand this statement without anything being defined as deserved respect.

    Are you basing this on blog comments, or is there something else that I am missing here. I think the guy gets, and has gotten, lots of respect over the years from lots of people. In fact he’s getting the ultimate respect in pulling on the US jersey game in and game out (obviously not the fans decision). Does that mean that all fans have to praise him at all times and never bring up concerns about his lack of productivity?

  71. raffin says:

    So long as the game is meaningful and Ching gives us the best chance to win, start him. Otherwise, bench him.

    If it is not a meaningful game, don’t even call him in.

    Simple as that, isn’t it?

    BTW, as for Cooper, I don’t know why people are so enamored of him. Personally, I am not sold at all that he will be able to do anything at the international level — seems like a classic tweener. Just the same, Ching should not block us from finding out the good or bad about Cooper in low risk/friendly games.

  72. Johnny says:

    If Ching is the best we have to start on Saturday it’s simply not good enough.

  73. tex says:

    Ching is soft as butter…flopping fish. We as USA supporters can’t taking any pride in this big goofy softly.

  74. jeffe says:

    I think the question is in 18 months (or so) at the WC will he be the guy? Sure he is on great form now, but shouldn’t we be building a team for 2010. Ching will be what 32 by then. Its a little old for a first choice striker with out any real substantial existing international experience, pace or real trickery. Sure, he’s alright, but I’d rather know we were using and grooming the players that might actually be competing in 18 month – getting that group of guys to know each others game rather than waiting for 4 friendlies before the competition to integrate a front man who hasn’t gotten minutes or only a few subs.

  75. brett says:

    raffin – i dont understand how people can state he is not ready for intl’ football… people rag on cooper all the time, yet for what reason??

    im not saying we NEED cooper, im simply defending a guy who’s receiving bad rep for something he’s not been experienced to yet…

  76. Ching is underappreciated by USMNT fans. He is big & has pretty good control of the ball in a small space. He is a threat w/his head & feet, is fairly opportunistic, and can pass alright, too. He is not McBride, but McBride won’t play.

    I also like Cooper. But that is not to say I don’t think Ching can also contribute. And, despite their similarity in stature, they are different players. There is room for both on the roster, particularly if Eddie Johnson is (rightfully) removed.

    30 is not old for a target forward. 32 would not be either (in 2010). It’s not like he’s been getting by on his speed.

  77. jspot says:


  78. NJ Guy No Longer Stuck in DC says:

    I know exactly what we need – the perfect compposite forward. A guy to hold the ball and do the little things. A guy who plays up to his size so he can make picks for Onyewu and Boca on set pieces. A garbage man to miss sitters but keep the ball alive in the box for Dempsey or Lando to score against the minnows when we blow them out by 2 goals! A forward who hustles and pressures the ball when the other team is in possession.

    I think I might be missing something here…

  79. Mike says:

    I frown upon the selection of Ching because he halts the offense and forces the team to play one, specific way. The US is built for a free-flowing, attacking style of soccer now, and if Ching is starting up top, we can’t play the style the team is best suited for. Plus, his first touch is awful. If we start Altidore, on the other hand, we get both a target striker and an attacker who can run at defenders, giving us many more options on the attacking front. For the simplistic style of soccer that Bradley wants to play, Ching is perfect, but I have more hope for the National Team.

  80. BlueWhiteLion says:

    I am not a Ching hater, but I join the many other posters who point out that he is NOT a big producer, and that since we have essentially locked up qualifying we need to develop those with more upside: Altidore, etc. He has his moments of “brilliance” but it is his easy shots that have been flubbed (a recent qualifier . . . Cuba? i don’t remember who it was against) that stand out to me. I think he is a fine player who will not get better. I am hoping that we can develop better, by 2010.

  81. Isaac says:

    Why don’t we just start Jozy and Brian up top at the same time?

  82. brett says:

    issac- b/c then we would either be displacing Dempsey or LD…. unless you are refering to having LD/Dempsey paired up with MB…

  83. Kevin says:

    he has his moments, but still shouldn’t be our starter. he had some good games, but we need someone that finishes consistenly against all opponents. cooper deserves the call, he has performed well in the league and has more tools then ching.

  84. Tim says:

    When did Altidore last play a game? Oh right. And Cooper is having a BARELY better season than Ching is now. Hes got a few more goals and less assists in more games, big effing deal. Ching is the best option now, hands down. Giving Jozy a few nat games isnt going to improve him, he needs to be playing club soccer all the time, not riding the bench like EJ. Let them prove themselves at their clubs, until they can do that, why bother letting them come to camp for a week and play 1 game?

  85. bill says:

    Ching is awful, he had so many solid oppertunities durring the trinadad and tabago game to take advantage of and he didnt. he got a lame header from point blank

  86. brett says:

    Tim – lol are you possibly comparing ching’s season with Houston to Cooper’s season with FCD??? b/c then Cooper’s performance with FCD is more impressive then Ching’s performance at Houston… and Cooper is scoring more….

    dont get me wrong, i like ching, i just feel the team is working away from the Blue-Collared working player into a more technical side….

    the difference between ching and cooper?? ching gets services with Houston… Cooper makes his own opportunities out of nothing….

  87. Isaac says:


    I think we should just put donovan right behind the forwards, dempsey and beasley out on the wings, and bradley/edu right behind him. Ives i remember you saying this once during a Q and A





    Same back line as ever

  88. Amit says:

    I think Ching gets put into a system by Bob Bradley in which he is doomed to fail, but still does so much as to call it a successful appearance. I’ve seen it a hudred times folks, NO AMERICAN FORWARD will score when they are alone up top. Jozy has never done it against players above the age of 20. Cooper doesn’t really play alone either.

  89. KC says:

    Ching has no ability to take defenders on one on one he has limited speed and while he can win balls in the air he is hardly dominant at the Int’l level in that aspect. Nothing about his game is impressive…comparing him to Cooper isn’t fair as they have completely different styles and are asked to do different things for their respective clubs, Cooper is faster and has the ability to beat defenders with the ball at his feet, he(like Ching) does not get outmuscled on the ball but isn’t as strong in the air as Ching. Really it doesn’t much matter what we think Bradley is an entirely conservative coach who will take very few chances in his lineups. I don’t expect more than 1 or 2 changes in this lineup from the previous one…meaning Ching will likely start.

  90. Tom P says:

    I’d like to be as good a player as Brian Ching and so would virtually all of you.

  91. Dan Roudebush says:

    Good article. Support for Ching is overdue.

    Regarding Cooper support. The two are dead even in goals ratio if you use minutes played.

    I think Ching plays smarter. Probably also the reason he has more assists.

    For other reasons I don’t see Cooper beating him out. But Cooper will get his chance during the January camp. We’ll see

    Altidore and Davies may be another story, but they need more club starting time.

  92. Raghu says:

    Great topic Ives, This is just another reason why your site is must read during my work day!

    Being a target forward is a role onto itself – especially for this teams style of play. Ching is the only real ball winner/target on the offensive side of the field for this team – which makes him invaluable during qualifying.

    The fact that he hustles/tracks back/pressures defenders on the ball is more important than most folks realize – He even links well with LD. He deserves his spot.

  93. Raghu says:

    With that being said – I’m also really excited for Jozy to get the opportunity to add the dimesion of running at defenders….But there’s room for the both of them on the National team and qualifying is a long process.

  94. Yossarian says:

    I totally agree, Ives. Some of the ignorant comments about Chinger are really disgraceful. He’s a very solid player who does a lot of things well. That said, I don’t see him making significant contributions in 2010, so I’d like to see more youngsters get a look.

  95. NOLA soccer fan says:

    I dont have any problem with Ching. I have a problem with the way BB uses him. At least sometime before the World Cup BB has to throw the younger players into the fire to see if they are anywhere close to ready for the Cup.

    Ching is a known commodity. he will get inside play rough and be a somewhat Brian McBride type player. The problem is we dont know how a Davies will react to hostile enviroments and crappy playing surfaces. we dont know how Cooper’s love of not going up in the air will effect the team. We dont know if Altidore’s few starts were a flash in a pan or a preview of the great things to come.

    Bottom line, we know ching. we dont know the new kids…we’ve pretty much qualified for the next round. sprinkle in some new flavors to see how this one tastes.

  96. arkjayback says:

    I don’t disagree with you much, but I do on this one. Yes, Ching is qualified and does some good things. But he is part of the same cautious defensive tactics that we are tired of.

    He does small things that set up others, but isn’t that what a midfielder is supposed to do? If the US was able to get a goal out of its forwards every once in a while, they wouldn’t be relying on set pieces and defenders so much.

    I don’t really have anything personally against Ching himself, it’s just not fair to the other guys. Buddle was playing at a higher level, didn’t get called in. Altidore and Adu shine in the spotlight, they haven’t been getting called in. Cooper and Davies are probably the highest performing attackers in the UMSNT pool right now, only one of them is even in camp.

  97. foobie says:

    Considering Bradley’s grand strategerie of playing defense and hoping to score on set pieces, it would make just as much sense to put Jimmy Conrad or Eddie Robinson out there. Basically, Ching’s job is to try to obstruct (illegally) in the box and head the ball if possible. So really, if you aren’t concerned with scoring during the run of play, then why bother with talent at the forward position?

  98. wow says:

    ives, i actually agree with you here. ching isnt the long term answer but he is consistent in what he does. he’s a solid hold up player and you always know what you’re going to get from him. no he’s not the best finisher, but we need a target forward (especially with our current kick ball strategy) and thus he has done admirably. id like to see altidore get more time so we can throw away the “experience” argument and play the best player.

  99. brett says:

    Dan Roudebush – “I think Ching plays smarter. Probably also the reason he has more assists”

    i think Ching is surrounded by better talent and better quality… he gets better distribution and better outlets….

  100. andrew in tampa says:

    Ives, I respect your attempt to be nice to Brian Ching but I absolutely disagree. He has brought nothing to the table. It’s like the US is playing without a forward. He offers no real threat of scoring or terrorizing a defense. He is a decent club player but looks very average on the international scene. BB needs to bring in a forward that complements the fast break attacking talents of his midfielders. And for those who long for the Brian McBride type of US nats soccer. It’s time to move on. It’s not attractive soccer.

  101. nico says:

    Good stuff. I agree Ching is quality and deserves to be the starter. I do question EJ’s constant recalls.

  102. roberto says:

    totally agree with u Ives …..there’s a lot of ignorance with a lot of people that post here… I think realistically, right now ching should start. and you know what? I really like Ching I’ve followed him since his days with SJ playing with LD. Ching I don’t think you read these silly posts but if you do, don’t take them seriously, cause a lot of your detractors sound like handball fans or waterpolo.. Anything but soccer.

    Love Altidore & Cooper… Their time will come, I’m sure.

  103. Tim Crawford says:

    Two words: Kenny Cooper. Ching is useless with the ball at his feet, and I disagree with his Dynamo form. He has too many garbage goals and more should be expected in the creating department for a team that doesn’t play with any playmaking midfielders. When Bradley and Clark/Mastroeni are starting, Cooper should play because he has better foot skills/passing ability/shooting ability.

  104. brett says:

    roberto – there are some ching haters, at which i feel most of them are tired of seeing a forward not producing goals…. we have zero prolific goal scorers and we want one asap….

    alot of us dont dislike Ching, we simply want to see what other options we have and want to see how some of our other forwards fair against the mighty CONCACAF…

    personally i feel his hustle gives him rights to roster for the Hex, but i dont see the hurt in putting in some younger determined forwards looking to make a name for themselves…. i dont think alot have anything against him, they just wish to see someone else for a change…

  105. Mark says:

    I don’t have a problem with Ching getting the start. He’s been solid option up front for the Nats. I don’t expect him play a full 90 though as I’d expect 3 of the younger players getting an opportunity to play. In the second game, once we’ve defeated Cuba, I’d expect him on the bench.

    I’m also advocating Connor Casey for inclusion in the January camp. Injuries derailed his career, but it looks like he’s played his way back into good form.

  106. eduardo says:

    plain and simple ching is nowhere near to be an international quality striker . he is very sloooooow and cant create his own shot…….if we want to ascend in the world soccer ranking first thing we have to do is being honest and level with ourselves, and that goes to our media , our federation and our fans. plain and simple: if ching is that good how come we had never heard about an european team even showing any interest in him . media and fans that ching can cut it against real international teams are the same that really believe that USA really deserves to be rank 21 in the world or that an mls team can really compete with the top teams in the english championship or that bob bradley is an international quality coach . we need to wake up and smell the roses . we still have a lonnnng way to go . today a team like egypt which right now has two strikers scoring a bunch of goals in the best league in the world is clearly better than ours . with the exception of tim howard and gooch is hard for us to name one of our players who is an undisputed starter in europe . most of our guys are riding the pine and we are debating whether brian ching deserves better treatment . give me a break.

  107. Ching is quite dangerous if you are setting up players and tactics that work well with his play. You can’t make the call without considering who you put in the other positions, how they fit with him, and the style of attack you are going after.

    When Ching came on for the Dynamo against San Jose last time, you could see and feel what was going to happen even before it did. As an Earthquakes fan I had a lump in my throat and saw the play well before it happened. His header looked an easy goal. Brian is really good at what he is good at.

    A very dangerous man to have in the box during a cross…

    And if we had a team that worked sophisticated combinations in the area, Ching can really hold the ball up and make that last incisive pass before the shot.

    We seem to always talk about individual players & their abilities, but it is the team play and chemistry that we need: we should talk about combinations of players.

  108. Jonathan says:

    I think Brian Ching is a pretty cool guy. Eh is a future 2010 non scoring striker and doesn’t afraid of anything.

    I think Bob Bradley is a pretty cool guy. Eh picks non scoring strikers and doesn’t afraid of anything.

  109. smokeminside says:

    I’m late to the conversation, but I have to agree with a lot of the positive comments about Ching, as well as echo the desire of many to see other players–Altidore first comes to mind–up top. I’m less interested in Cooper, who I agree plays smaller than his size, the opposite of Ching.

    What I specifically agree w/ re: Ching is how he fits the chemistry of the current team. (Hejduk is around for the same reason, and he gets dissed all the time, too).

    The sum of the whole is greater than its parts, folks. Ching fits his role well with the team. It’ll be very interesting to see how the team composition and dynamic evolves over the next six months.

  110. Ulrich says:

    To continue to play Ching is a mistake; unfortunately, Ching does not have the technical ability to compete on the international stage (anything other than CONCACAF) as he flubs many opportunities in front of the goal.

    The US MNT should take a lead from the German Federation. Prior to the last WC, Klinsman removed many “experienced” players and inserted young, promising players that needed seasoning. There were definitely setbacks with the results of individual games, but the players learned to play together through trial by fire. If the US MNT used this strategy, now would be the time to insert our young players to learn on the field as starters, not to come on for 15min of mop-up duty at the end of the game when goals may not necessarily be the strategy (if protecting the lead is the situation which it usually is in CONCACAF).

    Heath Pierce is the perfect example… he was a little shaky at first when he was given the chance to start, but since then he has begun to learn the position on the international stage and is the MNT go-to left back.

  111. Michael F. says:

    Ives, I love ya and agree with you 98% of the time. But this is way off. Ching can’t beat players off the dribble, he doesn’t have the speed to burn by players and win a long ball and his skill on the ball is mediocre at best. All he does is run backwards and show for another pass, where? Backwards! He is a waste of our National Team’s time. He can head the ball but even then he’s apoor man’s McBride.

    Every minute Altidore, Cooper, Davies or Adu get on the field helps us in the short and long term way more than Ching’s time on the field does. It’s time to move on from the Ching’s of the pool and focus on the our future stars now.

  112. JB Skynet says:

    Twellman and Ching give you the same thing, great workrate, rugged play, and a huge gulf in technical ability when it comes to the international stage. We’re a little over a year and a half away from South Africa. The young guys need to be getting some starts and getting into the flow of playing internationals. Ives, I’ll agree Ching does the little things well, if you’ll agree he’s unable to do the crucial things well…like scoring or creating goals.

  113. Brokenbil says:

    I’m not a Dynamo fan so it’s difficult for me to get excited about Brian Ching. However, we could do worse (sorry EJ). Still, I gotta go with the folks calling for Altidore and Cooper instead. USMNT’s days of settling for good enough should be over.

  114. drewski says:

    “Ching deserves more respect from USA fans”

    hahahahahahahah yeah right. No offense Ives, but I’m not even going to take the time to read the article. Look there are good club team players and then there’s players that get it done on the national team level. Ching does not fit in to the latter category. If I were a Dynamo fan, I’d love the guy, but as a US fan… I believe the old saying is “what have you done for me lately…”