Top Stories

Pontius replaces injured Saeif on USMNT squad

Photo by Christopher Hanewinckel/USA Today Sports

Kenny Saeif’s initial U.S. Men’s National Team camp has ended with an injury.

U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday that Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius will replace the injured Saeif on the USMNT’s Gold Cup roster. Saeif made his debut against Ghana last Saturday, coming off the bench in a 2-1 win, but the Gent midfielder will not continue with the team through the Gold Cup due to a groin injury.

Per competition rules and CONCACAF approval, teams are allowed to make an injury replacement up until 24 hours before the team’s first match of the tournament.

Pontius featured for the USMNT in both January camp friendlies and has provided six assists in 17 matches for the Union this season. He is set to join the USMNT on Friday following the Union’s clash with Sporting KC on Thursday night.

The U.S. kicks off the Gold Cup on Saturday against Panama.


  1. I agree with Ronaldinho. The replacement had to be from the 40 man roster and the first game is in 2 days so they basically had to be in the States. Who else fit those requirements? You’re not going to call in some 19 year old kid and throw them into that situation. They’d be lost and most likely fail if called to play meaningful minutes.
    Plus those complaining aren’t naming any actual players that should have been called in instead. If you’re going to replace someone at the last minute it needs to be a veteran that can jump in and know his job.

  2. Pontius even being on this roster, in any form, is yet another example of why rehiring Arena was a bad idea. He’s the best available at his position ? Not likely. He wont play I project

    • Is there some top young prospect out there who has been banging at the national team door? No.
      As you said, Pontius will likely not see the field. He’s brought in as a vet who will be a good training and locker room presence and can do a job on the field if an injury crisis hits. This tournament is all about evaluating 10-12 players to see if they’re truly able to compete for the 1st team. Bringing in an average “young player” who needs his hand held in his first camp makes that evaluation more difficult in training. How can anyone have a problem with this call up?
      I’d challenge anyone to name one player who is truly deserving of a call up in this spot. Not a player who may possibly in your subjective view be more talented than Pontius, but someone who is deserving of a call up to the national team….

      Disappointing we don’t get a real shot to see Saeif, but he did get a good week(ish) of training with Bruce. If he impressed there and plays well for his club another chance will come before next summer. This injury really helps solidify PT for Corona Arriola and Zardes though. Looking forward to see who steps up.

  3. Assuming Bradley and Nagbe will be added for knockout rounds, the other mids on the 40 man roster were Tommy Mc, Will Trap, and Pontius. None of those three are exciting choices, kind of a personal preference who you like best.

  4. This is was supposed to be his coming out party. Now, he is going to have few chances to make the team. I’m bummed.

  5. Pontius. Great. Almost zero chance to stick, doesn’t even play the same spot as Saief, if we were looking to try Saief at the 10.

    Arena’s done well so far but I agree with all that this is not an inspiring choice. Hopefully he will prove us doubters wrong.

  6. Very disappointing….Was looking forward to seeing what Saief could add to the USMNT. Like many others here have stated why is Arena calling in a player like Pontious….is there no-one else that could have filled that role? Pontious is a decent MLS player, but there has to be someone younger who is as good.

  7. I hadn’t read anywhere where arena didnt call up Danny Williams because of his club situation but now it makes sense he didn’t call him up. Gives him time to settle in with new club and might get a call for September qualifiers but on the other hand with Acosta playing well and corona having a strong showing this summer not to mention if a few other young midfielders step up and earn first team mins Williams might not get a look.

  8. Went to school with Pontius so always happy to see him get a run out even if I’ve never rated him as A or B Team worthy.

  9. Pontius is a bit too late for USNT. Maybe 6 or 7 years too late for USNT.

    Maybe younger promising player (like Wright, Gooch or Sargent or other) for the next, start developing them now for next cycle like JOB or Bradley, or maybe some player like Ramirez. Come on, USNT is playing Nicaragua or a frenchy colony.

  10. Pontius’ future trajectory is so short. It seems like a missed opportunity to give some young talent a run out.


Leave a Comment