Hey, guess what. Chris Pontius is not injured right now. In fact, he's suited up for all three of D.C. United's preseason games so far, starting up top with Fabian Espindola. He even scored a goal. Now, that's the Party Boy we know and love.
Except, well, it's not quite the one we know and love, maybe. Although Pontius is always designated M/F on any roster, he's usually deployed as the M—left midfield has been his spot. Of course, he's always said he's comfortable in either position, and certainly he's played (successfully) as a forward before. And, as we head into the 2015 season, it's looking more and more like we'll be seeing Chris Pontius, F.
It might be out of necessity, for one thing. United is running just a little thin at forward right now, with Eddie Johnson out for an undetermined amount of time, Luis Silva still not 100%, Conor Doyle probably not first choice, Jairo Arrieta down the depth chart as well, and Michael Seaton injured. Not to mention that even though Espindola is healthy, he'll be sitting out the first six games of the MLS season.
Meanwhile, midfield is pretty much anything but thin at the moment. DCU has wide midfield covered, and in particular, DCU has left midfield covered with Chris Rolfe returning to action. Rolfe is another of those M/F's, but this team was so good with the Magic Headband out left that it makes sense to play Rolfe as the M and Pontius as the F. And that's hardly a bad thing—if you have both Rolfe and Pontius on your roster, you could do a lot worse than getting them both on the field.
Think back to 2012. That was a good one, wasn't it? Pontius had an MLS Best XI year, and he did it drifting between those forward and midfield roles (we had Pajoy and Salihi in 2012 taking up forward spots. Remember that? Yeesh.). And, not to get too ahead of things here, but a girl can dream that 2015 offers an opportunity for Pontius to recapture that 2012 form. It's kind of there for the taking, isn't it?
All that said, there's nothing wrong with Pontius playing out wide. It's just that, to my mind anyway, he's not number one right now for that spot. And the closer you can get Pontius to goal—well, I hear that's where goals are scored. I sure wouldn't mind some CP13 goals this year.
Now, once Silva is back to play alongside Fabi, things get a little trickier. Do you bump Pontius out of the starting lineup? Where does he fit when forward and midfield are covered (assuming, of course, everyone is healthy)? I guess you'd really have to ask Ben Olsen, but I'm asking you guys instead. So, Party Boy: forward or midfield?