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D.C. United’s Chris Pontius loves the playoff matchup against New York Red Bulls

New York Red Bulls v DC United

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: Forward Chris Pontius #13 of D.C. United celebrates his third goal against the New York Red Bulls in the second half at RFK Stadium on April 22, 2012 in Washington, DC. D.C. United won, 4-1. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

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Count Chris Pontius right at the top among D.C. United men who have stood and delivered in Dwayne De Rosario’s absence.

The bunch from RFK Stadium leaned impressively into the home stretch, even without their leader and leading scorer, who fell to a knee injury on Sept. 13.

Pontius hasn’t showed up consistently on the scoring lines of game summaries, but his hard-churning toil on the flank or as a second forward has been essential as D.C. United closed the season with a 5-0-2 mark (United’s season results are here), all without the league’s current MVP.

Can we all expect even more from United’s fourth-year attacker, as he preps for his first MLS post-season contest? Perhaps. Pontius says he is particularly pumped about United’s opening playoff opposition. He wanted New York all along, he told the Washington Times.

I wanted to be matched up against New York. I think most of the other guys on the team felt the same way. I like the way we match up, I like the players that I’ve got, and I’ll take the players on my team any day over any of their players.”

Pontius against New York this year: Well, he did have that hat trick the first of his MLS career, against the Red Bulls back in April (a 4-1 win at RFK.)

And he scored twice against against Hans Backe’s team in United’s 3-2 loss in June at Red Bull Arena.

So, probably no surprise that he’s bullish on this matchup.