Houston Dynamo retiring legend Brian Ching headlined a cast of who's who in MLS soccer on the pitch at BBVA Compass Stadium the first ever testimonial game for an American player. Ching was all smiles Friday night as he bade farewell to the game of soccer. The 35 year old forward who burst onto the Houston soccer scene with a four goal performance left the pitch for the final time with a five goal performance.
With number 25 emblazoned on the field, the match got underway following huge ovations for Dynamo captain Brad Davis and coach Dominic Kinnear and a multitude of former Dynamo players which included keeper Pat Onstad, Dwayne De Rosario, Wade Barrett and Brian Mullan.
Calen Carr put the white team (not the good guys for this match) on the board in the 8th minute of play. Carr's goal was the conclusion of a series begun by former Dynamo great and current assistant coach Steve Ralston.
The lead was short-lived as Ching denied on his initial attempt in the tenth minute by US national star forward Landon Donovan turned goalkeeper rebounded for a three goal first half. With goals in the 10th, 22nd, and 24th minutes of play, the iconic forward singlehandedly put the men in orange ahead to say.
Ralston concluded the first half scoring with a goal past Onstad in the 32nd minute.
Following a trade off in goals by Dynamo team captain Brad Davis who chipped in from 33 yards out for the orange side's fourth goal of the night in the 41st minute and Juan Pablo Galavis' answer back in the 46th minute, Ching was at it again.
Bursting into the box, Ching was tripped politely by defender and usual teammate Bobby Boswell providing him with a chance for a fourth goal. Before putting away the PK for his fourth goal of the night and a 5-3 lead, Ching paid tribute to Donovan with an imitation of Landon's PK ritual.
Calen Carr added his second of the night in the 58th on a pass from Boniek Garcia before the more than 6,000 fans celebrated Ching's final goal in the 69th minute of play with chants of "Thank you, Brian."
The love affair between the unassuming superstar and the fans of Houston ends with a sincere thank you from the man who has given it all to the team and the city he loves.
"It was great. I can't thank the Dynamo enough for bestowing this honor on me and doing everything first class and first rate," said Ching. " It really made me feel special. I never started my career ever wanting this or thinking this, but it's pretty amazing that people see you that way."