Player of the Week

Player of the Week: Chris Pontius

Photo: Courtesy of Philadelphia Union

After Philadelphia Union opened the 2015 season with a scoreless draw at home against Colorado, Fernando Aristeguieta opened his account with two goals on the road against Real Salt Lake in the second game of the season.

Vincent Nogueira put two past Portland at home last July, and Conor Casey did the same on the road against San Jose last September.

The last time Chris Pontius scored a brace was for DC United on June 24, 2012. Since then, Pontius has had more than his fair share of injuries and his move to the Union ahead of the 2016 season was a chance for a new beginning for the player, who is only 28.

The Union went into last Saturday’s road game against the Crew stinging from a 2-0 road loss to Dallas to open the season. Most observers — myself included — didn’t give the Union a chance against the 2015 MLS Cup finalists, who hadn’t lost a home opener since 2004. The Union had but one point from seven games in Columbus and they would now have to get a result minus three players who were supposed to be the core of a reinvigorated midfield.

Scoreless in first half stoppage time, the Union were awarded a throw in deep in Columbus’ half. A long throw from Keegan Rosenberry was flicked on by CJ Sapong. Making a nifty run from above the penalty spot, Pontius cooly slotted home with his right foot.

Cue pandemonium in Union land.

In the 71st minute, a Union counterattack that began with Rosenberry picking some unfortunate’s pocket and a nice interchange between CJ Sapong and Sebastien Le Toux, who sent a lovely pass to Ilsinho at the top of the box. The ball was poked away from the Brazilian into open space on the left where it was met by a streaking Pontius, who made no mistake, this time with a slashing left-footed shot.

Pandemonium? Repeat.

While Columbus would get a goal of their own before the final whistle, the Union managed to do the improbable and return home with all three points from their first-ever win on the road against the Crew, something they were unable to do a year ago almost to the day against Salt Lake.

Asked after the game what the win meant, Pontius echoed the thoughts of Union fans everywhere: “It’s huge.”

He explained, “The first one always seems the hardest to come by for a team in the season, especially after losing your first game. It can throw your mind for a loop, especially coming here on the road, not an easy place to play, top team in the league. We knew it was going to be a battle. It’s huge.”

It sure was.

Of course, Andre Blake could’ve just as easily repeated as Player of the Week as he once again showed he is a shot-stopper of the highest caliber, adding six more saves to his total for the young season, including a clutch stop in the 89th minute.

But you need to score goals to get all three points, and that’s why Chris Pontius is PSP’s Player of the Week.

“We’ve got a home opener next week and now we’re a confident team going into that game,” Pontius said after last Saturday’s win. And thanks to his two-goal effort, Union fans are a little more confident going into Sunday’s home opener against New England, too.

6 Comments

  1. Tough call between Pontius and Blake. I would’ve chosen Blake, but then again, I have a feeling that Blake will be the Union Player of the Week for like 25 weeks this season, so I suppose you might as well take the opportunity to give it to someone else.

    • that’s exactly what I thought after the match – a guy scores two, he’s gotta be the man of the match – Blake will probably win it at least ten times this season
      congratulations to CP, solid work

  2. Any word if his “cramp” is anything more serious? He grabbed at it like a muscle pull in the 75th minute well before he went down. He really deserves a full year of being fit – great player.

    • Good question. I expect curtin will address it next press conference. Those are usually Wednesdays I think. But if there’s something more, I haven’t seen it on PSP

  3. Lucky Striker says:

    co-

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

%d bloggers like this: