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The struggling club will be without a vital piece for its trip to Columbus with the star winger sidelined yet again.

Just when things could not appear to get any worse for D.C. United, they have.

Saddled with the worst record in the league at 1-5-1 and coming off consecutive home losses to regional rivals New York and Philadelphia, D.C. received word that star winger Chris Pontius will be out with a groin injury that will cause him to at least miss the club's trip to face the Columbus Crew on Saturday.

The club offered no exact timetable -- speculating "a couple of weeks" -- but the injury is the latest setback for United, which has been missing its other starting winger, Nick DeLeon, with a hamstring injury he suffered in the first meeting of the season with the Crew back on March 23.

Pontius, who suffered a groin injury at the end of the 2012 postseason and had to decline a call-up to the U.S. national team January training camp as a result, has just one assist on the season after a career year in 2012 when he scored 12 goals and assisted on four others and was honored with a place on the MLS Best XI.

"It becomes an opportunity for another guy to step in and show us that he is a guy we can rely on," D.C. coach Ben Olsen said on the club's website. "We’ve had guys like [Kyle] Porter, [Raphael] Augusto and [Marcos] Sánchez get real minutes. And when we do get healthy, hopefully we’ll have more options and more competition, which I think we’re lacking right now."

D.C., which is winless in five matches, has not won in Columbus since 2007 and dropped the earlier meeting 2-1 -- a game in which Pontius record his lone assist of the campaign.

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