[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] A combination that seems to work no matter what the circumstances produced again Wednesday night to earn a Concacaf Champions' League victory for the Houston Dynamo. Teammates for club and country, and on this night, substitutes - yes, you read that right - Stuart Holden and Brian Ching combined midway through the second half for the only goal Houston needed to beat Salvadoran club Isidro Metapan, 1-0, at Robertston Stadium in the first group match for both teams.
Holden came into the match for the second half and Ching entered on the hour to kick-start a sluggish Dynamo attack that had struggled against Metapan's resilient defending. In the 67th minute, they both did what they do best: Holden's through ball split apart the Metapan back line and Ching tucked it away.
In the first half, Brad Davis - who would be replaced by Holden - set up Ade Akinbiyi with a precise cross that the forward headed over the top.
There were more cautions than shots on goal in the first half, as Houston's Corey Ashe and Craig Waibel were booked, as were Jose Ricardo Alvarado and Mario Aguilar.
Holden threatened Metapan's goal himself before the arrival of Ching. In the 54th minute he nailed a powerful shot from more than 30 yards that keeper Alvaro Alfaro repelled with a sharp dive.
The Dynamo blunted Metapan's attack after Ching's goal -- his fifth for the club internationally that tied him with former teammate Dwayne De Rosario for the team lead in that department -- and finished the match without the Salvadorans managing a shot on goal.
After hosting expansion Seattle in a crucial MLS Western Conference match Sunday, Houston travels to Panama to play Arabe Unido on Wednesday. The Panamanians blew Group A wide open by slamming Mexican club Pachuca, 4-1, as Orlando Rodriguez and Victor Medieta each netted twice.
Concacaf Champions League
Aug. 19 in Houston
Houston Dynamo 1, Isidro Metapan 0.
Goal: Ching 1 (Holden ) 67.
Houston -- Onstad, Hainault, Boswell, Chabala, Waibel, Mullan, Cameron, Davis (Holden, 46), Ashe, Akinbiyi (Ching, 61), Oduro (Cruz, 75).
Isidro Metapan -- Alfaro, Aquino, Alvarado, Escobar, Prado (Umana, 76), Iraheta, Figueroa, Mejia, Aguilar (Jimenez, 65), Canales, Mendoza (Ulloa, 53).
Referee: Mauricio Morales.