BY JONATHAN VERA
CARSON, Calif.–D.C. United received a very encouraging sign from striker Charlie Davies that he was ready to take on a bigger role as the club hits the playoff stretch drive, but also faced the devastating news that they lost one of their best performers of the 2011 season.
Davies scored a hat-trick to help lead D.C. United to a 3-0 victory against Chivas USA on Saturday night, a crucial victory that helped D.C. climb into playoff position. The news wasn't all positive though. Standout midfielder Chris Pontius was lost for the season after suffering a broken leg suffered after a vicious tackle by Chivas USA defender David Junior Lopes.
Davies stole the show at Home Depot Center, delivering a pair of first-half goals on assists from Pontius, before finishing the hat-trick with a 66th-minute finish, once against set up by Pontius.
“As a striker, you want to score goals, that’s your job,” said Davies. “I was very fortunate for my teammates to get through and I just made the run down the middle and they have me a lot of nice balls. Me and Chris [Pontius], it feels like we’ve been playing for a long time, the chemistry was there.”
“The goals were great, but to me he was almost more promising than the goals,” said Head Coach Ben Olsen. “A lot of his goals, let’s face it, a lot of the guys were putting it there. But the way he played tonight was more encouraging.”
Sadly, for Pontius, things took a turn for the worse.
In the 68th minute, David Junior Lopes and Pontius collided in the midfield while chasing a loose ball. A loud pop echoed throughout the stadium. Lopes received his marching orders and walked out on his own power, Pontius, on the other hand, had to leave the field on a stretcher.
D.C. United confirmed on late Saturday night that Pontius had suffered a non-displaced fracture of the right tibia.
“I just saw [Lopes] slide in with studs up and caught him,” said Davies. “I didn’t think he needed to slide, he was first to the ball anyway, and that was made it look more malicious because it looked like the intent was there to hurt him.”
Both parties had their side to the story, but Lopes maintains there was no intent to hurt and that it was Pontius who came in at him.
“I swear to you, I just went after the ball,” Lopes said. “My intent is always to play hard, but never to hurt anyone.”