Ching, Houston's joint-top scorer last season, understands that the team's poor performances could also place the U.S. national status of himself and his Dynamo teammates in doubt. "I think [U.S. coach Bob Bradley] wants to pull in guys who are playing well at the time," said Ching. "By us not doing as well as we should or we'd like to, I think it hurts us." In all, six Dynamo players -- Ching, Wade Barrett, Eddie Robinson, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis and Brian Mullen -- have been assessed by Bradley ahead of the 2007 Gold Cup. On Thursday, Bradley will name his 23-man squad for the tournament, which the USA won in 2005.
Clark, the holding midfielder and a national team veteran along with Ching, seemed less worried about the Dynamo's poor start. "It's a long season, and we still have time to reach our peak as a team," he said. For Kinnear and other MLS coaches, the 2007 Gold Cup and the 2007 Copa America that follows it pose problems, because they could lose their best players for as long as two months.