WASHINGTON, October 30, 2012 — It’s been an amazing season for D.C. United’s Chris Pontius who rebounded from an injury-ending campaign last year. The striker won a boatload of club awards on Monday and now waits, ready for the New York Red Bulls on Saturday when United visits the Red Bulls Arena for the opening game in the Eastern Conference semifinals. [Due to Hurricane Sandy, the Red Bulls will isuue a statement about the status of Saturday’s game later today.]
“This is what I wanted, to be honest,” said Pontius about the upcoming Red Bulls matchup. “You welcome the challenge. In playoffs you going to have to beat tough teams so why not do it early. I think it’s a good match up.”
The Red Bulls have seen enough of Pontius this year. The 25-year-old has notched five goals against United’s 1-95 rivals in 2012.
Pontius notched his first career hat trick in a 4-1 win over the Red Bulls at RFK Stadium on April 22. He also noted two goals in United’s 3-2 loss at the Red Bulls on June 24. His first goal in that game was the fastest goal in United’s 17-year history coming after just 31 seconds.
After suffering season-ending injuries in 2010 and 2011, Pontius had a career year in 2012, scoring a 12 goals in 31 games (26 starts). Six of his goals were game-winners, which tied the club record set in 1996 by Steve Rammel.
Pontius took over the team captaincy after league MVP Dwayne De Rosario, was sidelined late in the season, and led United to a 5-0-2 unbeaten streak. The team finished second in the Eastern Conference, and earned its first playoff spot since 2007.
On Monday, Pontius was named United’s Most Valuable Player in 2012.
Brandon McDonald, who set a club record in minutes played (2,963), won United’s 2012 Defender of the Year Award. Jeff Agoos, the previous record-holder, logged 2,805 minutes during the club’s inaugural 1996 season. Marcelo Saragosa won the Coaches’ Award, while Stephen King takes home the 2012 MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year honor for his work in the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan community.
D.C. United team Awards for 2012:
Volkswagen Most Valuable Player: Chris Pontius
Volkswagen Fans’ Choice: Chris Pontius
Golden Boot: Chris Pontius
Volkswagen Goal of the Year: Chris Pontius
Defender of the Year: Brandon McDonald
Coaches’ Award: Marcelo Saragosa
MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year: Stephen King
For 20 years John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
Follow John on Twitter at @Johnahaydon
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