We're going to have to take a slightly different path with Chris Pontius today since the question of whether he should stay with D.C. United or not is already settled. We know that Pontius will have to don the unfortunate colors of the Philadelphia Union this season. After 7 seasons, it's going to be weird not seeing Party Boy on the roster.
The 2015 season saw Pontius start the year as a forward for the most part, as Ben Olsen leaned on him as the main replacement for Fabian Espindola during the Argentine's 6 game suspension. He wasn't able to replicate Espindola's constant string of key passes or score that many goals in March and April, but his 93rd minute header to down the LA Galaxy on a bitterly cold night at RFK was one of the highlights of the season.
Over time Pontius transitioned back to a more familiar left midfield role, picking up an assist against Sporting Kansas City in a 1-1 draw and adding his second goal of the year in first half stoppage time against the Union. That followed a trend for the season: Every Pontius goal or assist ended up either giving United the lead or pulling them back onto level terms.
Unfortunately, that May 30th game against the Union was his last appearance for over two months. He didn't start another game until August 19th's trip to face Arabe Unido in the CONCACAF Champions League. The CCL, in the end, was a platform for Pontius to get himself back into match fitness and find the sort of form that had been elusive for him for a long time. The California native ended up starting all four of United's CCL matches and thankfully came through each appearance unscathed.
That set the stage for a (sadly brief) Pontius revival. Starting on the right side of midfield against NYCFC, Pontius took fans back to 2012 for a night, breaking into the attacking third time and again on a night where United needed to dig deep and clinch a playoff spot. Pontius wasn't on the scoresheet - that'd come a week later with the opening goal against the Chicago Fire - but he created a ton of danger and saw his shot become a rebound for Espindola to punch home in the 73rd minute. NYCFC ended up subbing Chris Wingert to slow Pontius down, but Angelino was just as helpless.
Party Boy would contribute one more goal, and it was another critical strike. Trailing in the playoffs thanks to Juan Agudelo's bicycle kick, United had a brief flurry of positive play towards the end of the first half. Moments before the halftime whistle, Espindola's inch-perfect free kick found Pontius, who managed to beat the more powerful Andrew Farrell to the ball and twist himself in mid-air, guiding the ball just inside the back post. It wasn't a game-winner, but it very much changed the tone of a game in which the Revs had up to that point created the better chances.
Unfortunately for Pontius, his season was over just a few minutes later. Roughly 7 minutes into the second half, he went down along the touchline, and United immediately made a substitution. It was a sadly familiar hamstring strain that shelved Pontius yet again, and his frustration on the bench was plain to see.
Obviously asking you if Pontius should be kept for 2016 is pointless. He has already been traded, and his replacement has already been brought in as well. Moving to Philly finds him getting a fresh start with a team willing to pay him his 2015 salary; for United, it means freeing up around $200,000 of cap space after also trading for a very similar player in Lamar Neagle. Instead, the question I have for you today is this: