April 18, 2011 MLS--Fit, in-form Pontius proving dangerous for United (from MLSsoccer.com)
Fit, in-form Pontius proving dangerous for United Midfielder recovered from injury-plauged 2010, bags 2 at TFC Travis Clark MLSsoccer.com Monday, April 18, 2011 - 5:33pm One of the many reasons for optimism at the start of D.C. United’s 2011 season was the prospect of finally having a healthy Chris Pontius. Through five games, it’s been all systems go for the third-year product out of UC Santa Barbara. After a solid start to his MLS career, the 2009 Rookie of the Year finalist suffered a hamstring injury early in 2010 that hampered him throughout the rest of that season. When playing he would deal with pain, and the injury eventually ended his season early in August. Pontius had surgery to repair it in September. Fit again at the start of this year, Pontius scraped off the rust during preseason, and has started all five games of the young season. On Saturday, he turned in his best performance to date, scoring twice in DC’s 3-0 win over Toronto FC at BMO Field. Getting those two goals was the reward of not only being healthy, but also the product of hard work put in on the training field. “I’ve been working on my finishing a lot and it’s one of my jobs in this team to put up some numbers, so to get on the score sheet for the first time feels good,” he told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “To also pick up the win – that feels even better, especially in a place like Toronto.” With his two-goal performance, Pontius matched his goal total from all of 2010 in his 90-minute shift. Those two tallies also came in one game last year, a 3-2 win back on June 10 on the road against Seattle. And while scoring was a relief on a personal level, Pontius placed a heavier emphasis on the team picking up the three points and a shutout, especially for a young back line. At the end of the game, rookies Chris Korb, Perry Kitchen and Ethan White made up three of the four defenders DC had on the field. “It’s huge especially for a young team like us,” he said. “It’s our first shutout of the year, first road win of the year, and I think it’s a big step for us. We need to be consistent a little bit more, and keep moving forward.” So far this year, Pontius has continued to show off his versatility. During his rookie season, he played nearly every position in attack, and coach Ben Olsen has started him at forward and on both flanks already in 2011. The 24-year-old is also tied for second on the team in minutes. With the visit of rival New York this Thursday, a fit and in-form Pontius will be an important piece in any success D.C. United hopes to have, whether it’s this week or for the remainder of the season.
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