HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo and Brian Ching are about as inextricably linked as the Houston Dynamo and the color orange.
In terms of players and coaches, only one man has been a part of the organization longer than Ching, and that is manager Dominic Kinnear. Ching has been with the organization literally longer than the club has been around in its current incarnation.
Ching joined San Jose in 2003 and moved to Houston three years later when that organization evolved into the Dynamo.
The longtime MLS and U.S. international striker came into 2012 expecting this to be his final season; injuries and general wear and tire on the tires – Ching was ever willing to throw his body selflessly into the human mash-ups – has reduced Ching, 34, to a substitute’s role this year. He has been a great man to bring off the bench late, it should be said.
At any rate, if Ching and the Dynamo cannot get past Kansas City in the Eastern Conference semifinal, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET today, this could mark his last appearance in his adopted home town.
What Ching told the Houston Chronicle this morning:
One thing that I’d miss probably the most is being around the guys every day. It’s a young bunch of guys having fun, doing a sport we love. I think that lifestyle is what I’ll probably miss the most and what I’ll need to adjust to. I think just by the fact that I’ve been thinking about it and semi-planning about it, I think it will help me a little. …But I don’t think it’s something that’s going to be easy.”
SANDY, Utah (AP) Real Salt Lake has re-signed forward Joao Plata to a multi-year contract and he will continue to hold a designated-player spot.
The 24-year-old was acquired from Toronto FC before the 2013 season and he has 30 goals and 30 assists in regular-season play with RSL.
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Plata ranks No. 3 on the team’s all-time assists list and No. 5 in goals. He has 33 goals and 35 assists during his MLS career.
Real Salt Lake begins the season Saturday when it hosts Toronto FC.
Mario Gotze’s last few seasons have not fulfilled the expectations thrust about the World Cup-winning attacker.
Gotze, 24, scored the 113rd minute goal that lifted Germany past Argentina in the 2014 World Cup, but has endured successive disappointing seasons between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund.
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With just two goals this season, Gotze has played just 24 minutes since BVB came back from winter break. On Monday, the club revealed why: a metabolism disorder that will keep him out for an indefinite period of time. From Sky Sports:
“We are glad to know the reasons for Mario’s complaints and we are convinced that after recovering he will give us extra quality with his exceptional abilities,” said Dortmund’s director of sport Michael Zorc.
“Mario gets the full backing and maximum support from all of us at Borussia Dortmund on his way back.”
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Gotze at his best, and here’s hoping this problem is both curable and the reason for his struggles.
Liverpool has named Peter Moore as the successor to chief executive office Ian Ayre.
Ayre, 53, is off to 1860 Munich this summer, and has stepped down early to allow Moore to take over.
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A Liverpool-born executive, Moore was the chief operating officer at EA Sports and has also worked with Microsoft and SEGA.
The move “completes a transitional phase” which saw several new names join the fray. From The Liverpool Echo:
The appointment completes a transition plan by FSG which included appointing Michael Edwards as sporting director while Billy Hogan was promoted to the role of managing director and chief commercial officer.
The United States U-20 men are on the precipice of the U-20 World Cup after beating Mexico 1-0 on Monday, scooping their first win against El Tri in 31 years.
Brooks Lennon continues to look the part for the U.S. ahead of his loan season from Liverpool to Real Salt Lake.
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The youngster sent in this free kick that Erik Palmer-Brown, himself a loan man at Porto from Sporting KC this year, headed into the Mexico goal courtesy of a back post defender who opted for his right leg over a decent clearing attempt.
The U.S. took that lead into halftime.
Things got chippy as the second half unfolded, with referee Melvin Matamoros turning a blind eye to a few clattering tackles.
Tab Ramos subbed NYCFC prospect Jonathan Lewis into the match, and he sprung a counterattack that should have put the match to bed. But Lewis’ through ball missed FC Dallas’ Coy Craft and the latter took too much time, frittering away the chance.