Another injury has hit D.C. United while it’s down.
Midfielder Chris Pontius suffered a groin injury on Thursday in training and is out for United’s visit to the Columbus Crew (2-2-3, 9 points) on Saturday, leaving D.C. with only one of four preferred starters in the middle of the field. John Thorrington and Nick DeLeon also remain sidelined. Lewis Neal has only played once this season, Raphael Augusto played less than a half last week after dealing with a virus, and Marcos Sanchez returned to action this week after missing last weekend with a sprained ankle. Defensive midfielder Perry Kitchen is the only remaining first-choice starter.
United (1-5-1, 4 points) has lost four in a row and hasn’t won in Columbus since 2007.
Pontius, who declined to comment through a team spokesman, was an MLS Best XI selection last season but is yet to score this year. He’s been an easy target so far this season for physical play from opposing defenses because of United’s diminished offensive capabilities, and his growing frustration has been noticeable as the weeks have worn on.
Pontius is also coming off a groin problem that sidelined him during the playoffs last season and kept him out of the U.S. national team setup over the winter. The timetable for is current injury is unclear.
“I have faith in the talent level of this crew even with a couple injuries,” United coach Ben Olsen said. “I still have faith in the talent aspect, and I have faith in them that they have the mentality to win games as well. It hasn’t always showed up, but I certainly have faith in them to do that. It’s up to them to put those things together. It’s up to them to have 11-plus guys show up and do the job and have good games, or good enough games, to get results, and not have two guys with concentration lapses, set piece deficiencies. These things add up and can spiral, but there’s 81 points out there. That’s a lot, and it’s important to remind ourselves of that, and there’s a lot to play for still in this season.”