Good news for Pontius and D.C. United

In a rare bit of good news for D.C. United, Chris Pontius has only a mild groin injury and might be available next week, General Manager Dave Kasper told the Insider on Monday.

Pontius injured himself in practice last Thursday and sat out the 3-0 loss at Columbus on Saturday. He underwent testing over the weekend.

United feared a three-week absence, but scans showed a Grade 1 (mild) strain. The club (1-6-1) is idle this weekend and will host Houston next Wednesday, the start of four matches in 18 days. United’s hope is that Pontius is well enough for the game-day roster against the Dynamo and a possible return to the starting lineup at FC Dallas on May 11.

*Bret LaBonte, a 16-year-old forward from Frederick, Md., and Bryan Argueta, a 15-year-old forward from Gaithersburg, Md., were among 18 candidates selected for the seventh annual MLS Sueño national finals, a contest showcasing youth prospects.

Both participated in a recent tryout staged by United. (The Los Angeles Galaxy and Colorado Rapids were the other hosts this year.) At the finals, one of 15 field players and one of three goalkeepers will receive top honors. If a local player wins, he would gain consideration to join United’s youth academy.

MLS has consulted with the NCAA to ensure participants do not lose amateur eligibility, a program spokesman said. Contest sponsors cover expenses.

Past winners have included midfielder Jorge Villafana, 23, who is in his seventh season with Chivas USA and played for the U.S. under-20 and under-23 national teams; and forward Gabriel Funes Mori, 22, an Argentine-born Texan who has scored six goals for River Plate this season.

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.

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Steven Goff · April 28, 2013

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