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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Ching to play in Cup qualifier in Panama

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hale'iwa native Brian Ching leaves for Panama City today with the U.S. National team for tomorrow's FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Panama.

The match will be televised live on Fox Sports World (available to digital subscribers) at 3 p.m. Hawai'i time.

Ching has been at the U.S. National team camp in Boston all week, in what he said is a much more competitive atmosphere than he encounters playing with Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes.

"You just have a different level of play, and everybody is competing for a starting spot," the 1996 Kamehameha graduate said.

Ching is tied for the MLS lead in scoring with 11 goals, and has earned four caps, or international appearances, with the national team.

"Every game I go in with the same mentality of knowing my role of getting the ball wide, get in the box," the 6-foot-1 forward said. "I'm not the type of player who is going to take two or three guys on; just playing simple."

Ching, who scored a goal in the United States' 2-0 win over El Salvador on Saturday, made his first start with the U.S. National team in that game.

"(Head coach Bruce Arena) told me Friday that I was going to start and I was just excited," Ching said. "I was really nervous right before the game started, but I don't think I would have been as nervous if I hadn't played in those games previous.

"It just feels good to get another goal. I definitely think it's a start, to perform well with the opportunities that I've got is definitely going to keep me on the radar."

He said he is not sure if he will start in tomorrow's match.

Ching, who provides the United States with a tall, strong body and good presence in the air, has scored in both qualifying matches, his first giving the U.S. team a 1-1 tie at Jamaica on Aug. 18.

The United States (1-0-1) moved into first place in Group A of the North and Central American and Caribbean region. It plays at El Salvador on Oct. 9 and finishes with home games against Panama on Oct. 13 and Jamaica on Nov. 17. The top two teams advance to next year's six-nation regional finals.

Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2457.