Per club policy, D.C. United didn’t reveal any specifics about Chris Pontius’s new contract, but sources close to the negotiations tell me he received three guaranteed years and the club holds two option years (five years total). I haven’t heard any word about the financials, but rest assured, he will earn considerably more the next few years than the $155,000 base salary in 2012. The new deal goes into effect in January.
“What is great about Chris is, he gives you an offensive threat, but he does all of the other things that a lot of people with offensive skills don’t give you: hard work, responsible in the defensive end,” Ben Olsen said. “He is a pretty complete player for being a guy who can really put you on your heels.”
What is Pontius’s best position?
“If you put him up top, the ceiling has a potential to get very, very high,” Olsen said. “He can do both [wide left and up top]. I know he feels very comfortable on the left. In the future, can he be a forward? Sure. He has shown that he can. Is it the right time now? I’m not sure. We are tweaking things a little bit [in Dwayne De Rosario’s absence], but he has the ability to do that.”
Like most players, Pontius has given thought to playing in Europe someday.
“Of course, everyone thinks about it. You have to look at a bunch of different circumstances. It’s tough for a lot of Americans to go over there without a lot of [national team] caps. ... I have a lot of unfinished business here that I want to accomplish — getting into playoffs and hopefully winning some trophies.”
The length of the new contract protects United from losing Pontius on a free transfer. If he goes in the next few years, DCU would collect a transfer fee. In which case, everyone wins.
*As the roster deadline approached late today, many teams were in trade talks. However, United General Manager Dave Kasper said early in the day, “We’ve had some conversations in the past week, but as it stands now, there are no deals to be done.”
*Daniel Woolard, United’s starting left back, won’t return to the lineup anytime soon after suffering a concussion six weeks ago. He had made progress the last two weeks and increased his aerobic workouts but continued to have headaches. Asked how he’s feeling, Woolard said: ”Not great.”
*With a draw or victory Saturday against the New England Revolution, United would set the club record for consecutive league home matches without a loss. DCU is 9-0-4 at RFK Stadium since losing the opener to Sporting Kansas City. The club also went 13 straight without a defeat in 2007.
The Revolution is 1-10-2 on the road.
*I will have much more on Pontius’s contract, role and future in the Saturday print edition story (available online Friday evening).