Houston (4-3-1) at Real Salt Lake (3-3-1)

  • Game info: 9:00 pm EDT Thu May 13, 2010
  • TV: ESP2, ESPD
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Just when Brian Ching gets healthy, the Houston Dynamo may lose him for at least another six weeks.

The forward is set to return from a six-game absence, but his return will only last one match for the Dynamo, who take on host Real Salt Lake on Thursday night.

Ching has been out with a left hamstring strain and the Dynamo (4-3-1) have gone 3-3-0 with him sidelined. The club’s all-time leader with 39 goals, he is expected to play against RSL, but his presence in the lineup will be short-lived.

The team learned Tuesday that Ching was included on the United States’ provisional 30-man roster for next month’s World Cup. Players will begin reporting Saturday, with camp getting under way Monday.

The roster will be trimmed to 23 by June 1, and Houston would be without Ching for at least four more games if he makes the cut. He is a favorite to make the final roster.

Ching was hurt in a 2-1 win over Salt Lake (3-3-1) on April 1, when Brad Davis converted two penalty kicks three minutes apart to rally Houston.

“It’s been a little stressful, I’m not going to lie,” Ching told the team’s official website. “Being injured and having that injury at that time is just bad timing. I’m just happy that I’m fit. I’m healthy. I’m ready to go.”

The Dynamo were afforded an opportunity to rest Ching - an unused substitute - in a 2-0 road win over Chivas USA on Saturday. They got goals from Davis and Adrian Serioux within the first eight minutes, while allowing two shots on goal for the game.

“We’ve been a bit of a roller coaster - injuries and schedule,” defender Craig Waibel said. “There’s absolutely no question that guys are stepping up.”

Ching didn’t have a shot in his last two games, but Houston has gotten offense from other sources.

The Dynamo’s 11 goals have been scored by nine players, with Davis’ three the most on the team. The midfielder had five goals last season.

Houston has gone 4-0-3 the last seven meetings with RSL. Salt Lake, though, is looking to go 3-0 on its three-game homestand after beating Philadelphia 3-0 on Saturday.

Robbie Findley, also named to the U.S. provisional roster, is nursing a back injury that forced him out in the 38th minute Saturday. The forward has yet to record a goal after scoring a career-high 12 last year.

If he is unable to face Houston, Pablo Campos would be the likely replacement. The Brazilian had an assist on fellow forward Alvaro Saborio’s goal against the Union.

Jamison Olave is also providing some scoring punch, finding the back of the net in each of the last two games.

The defender, however, has struggled against Houston. He committed both fouls that led to the penalties in last month’s meeting, while two of his three red cards last year came versus the Dynamo.

The 6-foot-3 Olave will likely find himself matched up with the 6-1 Ching.

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Thursday, May 13