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.