DC United's Chris Pontius hopes to spark strong finish after recovering once more from injury

WASHINGTON – In what has proven to be far more of a story throughout Chris Pontius’ career than he’d like, the talented midfielder and D.C. United’s longest-tenured player once again has dealt with significant injury during his fifth season in the league.

And once again, Pontius has recovered from a nagging hamstring injury that’s sidelined him for United’s previous seven matches.

Plagued by such injuries throughout his career, the issue Pontius has dealt with for the previous two months involved the sciatic nerve in his left leg which left him with nagging pain. However, the veteran returned to full training Tuesday and could provide a spark for a United club that’s winless in its previous four matches.

“I feel good,” Pontius said Thursday. “I haven’t had any lapses like that or anything with the hamstring.

“We tried dry needling and a bunch of other stuff to get my sciatic nerve in there to release, but it’s just one of those things where you’ve got to just let it calm down. You can’t piss it off or it gets worse.”

Pontius has scored one goal and assisted on two more this season after being named to the MLS Best XI last year thanks to his 12-goal, four-assist haul over 26 starts. With a natural ability to change games when healthy, Pontius said he doesn’t yet feel 90-minutes fit, but he’d “definitely be able to step into a game.”

“It’s not fun being on the sideline. You want to be out there with the guys every day. You feel disconnected,” Pontius said. “It’s a tough situation. Me coming back, the tough part is my fitness, my sharpness. I think I’ve done well this week getting back into it. I’ve been doing stuff on the side to keep my fitness up just so when I get back into it the transition wouldn’t be as hard.”

United, the league’s worst club, will travel to face the last-place team in the Western Conference, Chivas USA, on Sunday (9 pm ET, MLS Live) and with Pontius back are as healthy as they’ve been since the start of the season. D.C. will, however, be without three Canadian national team players who were called up for Sunday’s friendly against Mauritania: Dwayne De Rosario, Kyle Porter and Dejan Jakovic.