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Topic - Chris Pontius
D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius has had another surgery on his left hamstring.
Injuries have frequently interrupted a promising career that began when Pontius was a rookie of the year finalist in 2009. He had injury-shortened seasons in 2010 and 2011. In November, he had surgery to repair his left hamstring and sciatic nerve.
It is probably over the top to talk about must-wins for D.C. United in April, but after a three-win campaign last season, that kind of talk is almost unavoidable.
The victory was the first for D.C. United (2-11-3) since March 9 and snapped a club record 13-game winless streak.
Five years ago, Kyle Porter's anonymity evaporated. That tends to happen when a soccer player takes his career to a top-flight club in Germany — even an 18-year-old prospect whose only action would come in reserve matches.
It's tough to imagine Chris Pontius lagging behind. But sometimes, the man just can't keep up.
A raucous RFK Stadium crowd may have witnessed the theatrics of postseason soccer for the first time in five years Saturday, but neither D.C. United nor the New York Red Bulls seemed well cast as playoff contenders. When all was said and done, United and the Red Bulls found themselves deadlocked 1-1 after the first leg of their two-game, total-goals Eastern Conference semifinal.
Going into D.C. United's regular-season finale Saturday with postseason seeding at stake, Chris Pontius knew what he wanted. It definitely wasn't a match in the knockout round. And it wasn't a playoff date with Houston or Chicago, either.
As the final whistle blew, the waves of emotion washed away four years of frustration. Flags and flares emerged from the boisterous sea of black that filled RFK Stadium’s lower bowl. And as D.C. United’s players and coaches mobbed each other, Ben Olsen and Chris Pontius savored a long embrace.
As Dwayne De Rosario hobbled onto the RFK Stadium pitch, attired in street clothes during a pregame ceremony honoring his 100th MLS goal, reality sunk in. If D.C. United are going to emerge from the stretch run with a playoff bid, they’ll have to do it without their captain and catalyst.
D.C. United's road to ending their four-year playoff drought has been burdened with the most disruptive roadblock imaginable.
Ben Olsen isn't dwelling on D.C. United's drop from first to fifth in the Eastern Conference in the past two months. As long as that path to the playoffs remains clear, the coach knows his club still can make plenty of noise.
If the intensity of D.C. United's push for the playoffs wasn't evident before their 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union on Sunday, it sure is now.
For the past 3½ months, Nick DeLeon has found himself running right up against the rookie wall. Those darting runs from the flank that came with such frequency earlier have been few and far between. Concurrently, his spot in the starting lineup became an uncertain proposition.
To Major League Soccer, the All-Star Game in recent years had become, in some regards, a sore subject. Envisioned as a spotlight for the league's top talent, the midsummer spectacle instead developed into an arbitrary symbol for how far soccer in the U.S. still has to go.
"It's not ideal to have both your forwards go off in the first half, but soccer throws some weird things at you sometimes," Pontius said. "We obviously needed to pick up that goal, and I thought we handled it pretty well."
"We grew up watching teams like Ajax so any time you get to play a team like this it's good for us and our fans," Pontius said. "Some of the players that have some knocks won't be in that game because the league is far more important."