Last in MLS’s Eastern Conference and badly understaffed in the attack, United will play without star midfielder Chris Pontius on Saturday night at Columbus. Pontius injured a groin muscle in Thursday’s training session and did not practice Friday, Coach Ben Olsen said.
Asked when Pontius might return, Olsen said: “I’m not sure.”
Pontius, an MLS Best XI selection last year, has not scored this season but remains a vital piece to United’s sputtering attack, which has been shut out four times in seven matches and scored multiple goals just once (last weekend).
Pontius said through a club spokesman that he did not want to comment at this time.
He joins an injury list that also includes midfielders Nick DeLeon, John Thorrington and Lewis Neal. Another midfielder, Marcos Sanchez, missed last weekend’s match against Philadelphia with a sprained ankle but has practiced at a high level all week and seems likely to regain a starting slot against the Crew.
Taylor Kemp, a rookie left back from the University of Maryland with attacking traits, has been named to the travel roster to provide reinforcement on the flank.
Much more to come on the club’s state in my formal story, which is available online tonight and in Saturday print editions…..