Several hours before D.C. United’s 4-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, midfielder-forward Chris Pontius was named by Ben Olsen to the MLS All-Star squad that will face European champion Chelsea FC on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
It was an honor widely expected for the 25-year-old, who has come back from a broken leg suffered in September to score a career-high nine goals in just 16 games this season.
“I don’t think I’ve been able to enjoy it because we got spanked 4-0,” Pontius said Wednesday. “But it’s an honor. I’ll worry about Columbus this weekend and then I’ll be able to enjoy it after that.”
Olsen, the All-Star coach, also tabbed goalkeeper Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), midfielders Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle) and Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), and forward Eddie Johnson (Seattle) to join the fan-voted First XI. Defenders Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia) and Ramiro Corrales (San Jose) were added to the roster by MLS commissioner Don Garber.
“No one wants to see a 1-1 or a 1-0 game,” Pontius said. “Obviously, we’re going to go out there and try to score as many goals as we can. It’ll be an open game when you’re throwing numbers forward, and you can just expect that.”
RUSSELL OUT ‘SEVERAL WEEKS’
Right back Robbie Russell was walking on crutches at RFK Stadium on Wednesday and seems poised for a lengthy absence after exiting the loss to Houston in the 40th minute with plantar fasciitis, a foot ailment.
“It’s probably going to be a while,” Olsen said. “We don’t know the exact time frame, but he’s going to be out several weeks for sure, at least. We have to deal with that, but again we have faith in our depth.”
Second-year player Chris Korb is set to replace Russell when United travel to face Columbus on Saturday.
“It’s never been easy for Korb because he’s in the lineup, he’s out of the lineup for long stretches,” Olsen said. “But he’s a kid we believe in, and we know he can come in and do the job there.”
OLSEN TO HALL OF TRADITION
Olsen has been voted by the fans into the club’s Hall of Tradition, United announced Tuesday. Garnering 81 percent of the vote, Olsen beat out fellow candidates Tony Sanneh and Carlos Llamosa to join John Harkes, Marco Etcheverry, Jeff Agoos, Raul Diaz Arce, Eddie Pope and Richie Williams in the hall.
“Our fans have been unbelievable to me since I got here,” Olsen said. “My job is to now repay them for all they’ve given me with success with the current team.”
IBRAHIMOVIC’S FRIENDLY STATUS IN AIR
Newly signed Paris Saint-Germain striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic will not travel with the team Thursday for its U.S. tour, which includes a friendly against United on July 28 at RFK Stadium, the French club announced Wednesday.
It has not been announced whether the Swedish star will join the tour at a later date.
GUESTS AT TRAINING
This week has featured a few more faces at United training than usual. Tuesday, New York Mets center fielder Andres Torres was a guest at RFK Stadium for practice. And Wednesday, the team hosted more than 50 area coaches as assistant coach Pat Onstad led a goalkeeping clinic.