Life without Brian Ching

The men in orange are back after coming up short in the MLS Cup to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Notice anything different on Houston's roster this year?

Brian Ching, one of the original Dynamo players, is no longer in Houston.

"Yeah, it's strange," Dominic Kinnear, Houston's head coach, said. "Yeah, it's the first time in a while we've come into the pre-season without having him here."

After the Dynamo exposed their former captain to selection by an expansion team, Ching said he would retire before joining Montreal. The Canadian club answered Ching's bluff by selecting him with its first pick at Major League Soccer's expansion draft in November.

"I don't know the ins and outs of it [Ching situation] but I was surprised to see him go, especially with it being Brian," Will Bruin, a Dynamo forward, said.

"As you look at the goals he's scored, and it's like we needed every single one," said Tally Hall, who's a Dynamo goal keeper. "And so, I think it's a good example [Ching set] for maybe some of these young guys coming in."

So who becomes the Dynamo's new leader?

"It's gonna be me, you know, the Canadian," Andre Hainault, a Dynamo defender, said laughing. "No, yeah, you guys can know just as well as us who it's gonna be. Guys like Brad Davis, Bobby [Boswell]. You know, the vocal guys; the guys that wear the captains armband."

"We can't replace Brian Ching as a person or player but we have leaders on this team, and we're not hurting for leadership," said Hall.

The Dynamo hope that leadership pays off as they adjust to life without Ching.