Chris Pontius Can Save DC United

Chris Pontius will need to step up to save DC United in the next leg
by Robert Mera   |   Monday, November 03, 2014

United Capitol – column on DC United (DCU) & the Washington DC/DMV area soccer scene.

The news was difficult to hear three weeks ago: Luis Silva, a revelation for DC United this season, will be out for 4-6 weeks. Silva had scored 11 goals for DCU this season after a short hiatus early in the 2014 campaign. Along with Espindola and Eddie Johnson, he helped to spark a dream run for United to win the Eastern Conference and be in great position for the playoffs.

DC United has done most of its damage on opposing squads with a largely blue collar team. No megastars, no mega budget, just players with a great desire to win games. That is the type of mentality that Ben Olsen has instilled in this squad. Yet Silva did provide a bit of flair in his movements with the ball and had the freedom to roam in the attacking side of the pitch.

That was the icing on the cake for Ben Olsen’s squad, a player that could change the game in a matter of seconds. So how will he deal with Silva’s absence?

Chris Pontius.

Luckily, just as we saw the end of the regular season coming to an end, Pontius finally returned from a long hiatus due to injury. He showed he still had it in Concacaf Champions League play with a goal and great positioning and understanding with teammates.

Pontius occupies a position similar to Silva. While he is more of a midfielder than Silva, he has the ability to be dangerous in the attack. Along with Espíndola and Eddie Johnson, he forms a dangerous trio if Pontius is deployed as a withdrawn third forward. His heading abilities are also a great addition, as evidenced by the deciding goal versus Chicago that clinched first place in the East.

DC United has had good showings against New York this season, even on their 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena in September. But this week’s 2-0 loss is nothing to be proud of. The key versus the Red Bulls in the next game will be to contain Bradley Wright-Philips and close the spaces for Henry and Cahill. The Red Bulls have a formidable offense but DCU has been able to shut down Mike Petke’s men twice this season with Boswell leading the charge.

Both DC United and New York have a similar attack plan. They have three quality attackers that can both distribute well and score loads of goals. Yes, the absence of Luis Silva is a key loss, but Chris Pontius has regained confidence and strength and will be the key for DC to give Johnson and Espindola more space and, perhaps, get a couple of goals of his own.

NEXT UP: November 8 – DC United vs New York Red Bulls, RFK Stadium, Washington, DC. 2:30 p.m. EST, CSN (DC Metro Area).

Robert MERA

NC State
Club Domestic:
PTFC, DC United
Club Foreign:
Emelec (ECU)
Robert is a climate scientist by day and soccer columnist by night (and weekends). He covers all things DC United, from player development to international tournaments.