With D.C. United’s season-opening match against Sporting Kansas City 10 days away, a number of questions surround the revamped club, not the least of which is the health of midfielder Chris Pontius.
With United set to face the Charleston Battery on Wednesday (7:15 pm, LIVE on DCunited.com) in the second game of the Carolina Cup Challenge in Charleston, S.C., Pontius will again play extended minutes as he continues to recover from a fractured tibia he suffered in September after colliding with Chivas USA defender David Júnior Lopes.
“I feel good,” Pontius told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “I’m working on my fitness right now. Playing in these games in Charleston should be helpful. I’m not at 100 percent yet, but I’m getting close.”
The fourth-year player logged 71 minutes in the Black-and-Red’s 1-0 exhibition victory against the Chicago Fire on Saturday, and played close to full speed throughout.
“There are a bunch of challenges,” Pontius said of his recovery. “There are mental challenges and physical challenges. … You’re going to get days where your leg is achy after a long workout, but mentally is the biggest challenge, especially when you’re just not feeling it.”
Pontius played 25 matches in 2011, scoring seven goals and assisting five more before he suffered the injury.
While Pontius continues to remain optimistic about playing in United’s season opener, he realizes this season will begin with high expectations for D.C.’s side – a team that has missed the playoffs for four consecutive years.
“I put that pressure on myself,” Pontius said. “I don’t need to hear it from the fans or anyone else. … I know how I play. I know when I play good or play bad and I talk to coaches about what I can do better. I want to win.”