Pontius, the seventh overall pick in the 2009 SuperDraft, had yet to appear for United this season and sat out the team’s postseason tour last year to recuperate from an operation on that same left hamstring as well as sciatic nerve surgery. In his six professional seasons, he’s played as a wide midfielder and forward while logging 123 regular-season games (106 starts), scoring 27 goals and registering 16 assists.
The native of Southern California and product of UC Santa Barbara was a finalist for Rookie of the Year honors in his first year. He quickly showcased a zeal for slashing dribbles and penetrating runs that stamped him as one of the league’s top young attacking players, but after recording four goals and three assists in 28 games (23 starts) as a rookie the injuries began to pile up.
He needed hamstring surgery after the 2010 season during which he played just 17 games (two goals, one assist). A strong 2011 season (25 games, seven goals, five assists) ended abruptly when he suffered a broken leg a week after being called up by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Pontius blossomed in 2012 while healthy and scored 12 goals and registering four assists in 31 appearances to earn All-Star and Best XI honors, but a groin injury and other problems last year limited him to two goals and three assists in 22 games (19 starts).