D.C. United scored just one goal in Saturday’s 1-1 tie against Sporting Kansas City, but it was a beautiful one. With a nondescript first half winding to a close Perry Kitchen took control off a turnover and made a textbook cross in the direction of Chris Pontius.
Pontius fielded the 40-yard ball off his chest and found Jario Arrieta on his next touch for the easy finish. It was a play that Pontius made look much easier than it was.
“I saw Perry [Kitchen] got some room and I make the run – he puts an unbelievable ball on my chest,” said Pontius. “I thought for a second about hitting it with my left foot, off of the bounce, but it short-hopped me. I saw Jairo to my right and flicked it back to him with my right. It was a great finish.”
Just being able to make that type of run is progress for the former UC Santa Barbara graduate, who’s dealt with a series of hamstring injuries over the past two years. Pontius has one goal and one assists on the season and is finally starting to look like himself again.
“He was very dangerous when we put him up top and his ability to run the channels helped us out and was something we wanted to exploit in the second half, said United coach Ben Olsen following Saturday’s tie. “He looks like he is getting his speed back which is good.”
Pontius’ speed is what had him drawing consideration for a spot on the US National team. Slowly but surely he’s working his way back to being the same player that made the 2012 MLS Best XI squad.
“Yeah I feel like I’m able to run past people again whereas before, you know just after a year off, it doesn’t just come back in a month,” said Pontius. “As much as you would like for it to, it just doesn’t do that. So confidence is everything, running off the ball, how you read the game- everything is just a bit slow. I think I’m getting there but I think I still got a ways to go.”
With less than a month to go until the summer transfer window closes on Aug. 8, Premier League clubs are wheeling and dealing to ship out or bring in talent. Here's the latest Premier League news:
Tottenham Hotspur: Spurs have sold right-back Kieran Trippier to La Liga side Atletico Madrid, the club announced Wednesday. The English defender made 114 appearances for Tottenham in all competitions after joining from Burnley in 2015.
West Ham United: Sebastien Haller has been acquired from Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt in a £45m move. The French striker scored 20 goals last season and replenishes West Ham's attacking options after the departures of Marko Arnautovic, Andy Carroll and Lucas Perez.
Everton: In a surprise move, English midfielder Fabian Delph is joining the Toffees from reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. The 29-year-old signed a three-year deal with Everton which runs through 2022.
Newcastle United: Joselu is heading back to his native Spain, the 29-year-old striker joining La Liga club Alaves for an undisclosed fee. His departure leaves the Magpies thin at forward, top scorers Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon are also leaving the club this summer.
Sheffield United: The Premier League newcomers have signed former Manchester United academy graduate Ravel Morrison on a one-year contract. "Ravel is an undoubted talent, and we are delighted that we have put together a deal that suits all parties," Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder told BBC.
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Barely two weeks removed from their Women's World Cup Championship victory, U.S. Women's National Team youngsters Rose Lavelle and Malory Pugh will return for the Washington Spirits' matchup against the Houston Dash on Saturday, though Lavelle may not play according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff.
Pugh scored once and had one assist in the World Cup, while Lavelle notched three goals, including the game-securing goal in the World Cup final. The pair, along with the rest of the USWNT, partied hard after their gold medal win, but now will rejoin their club team.
Lavelle is still working back from a hamstring injury that almost kept the midfielder out of the World Cup. She is unlikely to play on Saturday, but will be in attendance to greet fans and sign autographs.
Fans can watch the Spirit and the Dash face off Saturday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington.
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