On the subject of Pontius, where do you think he should play tomorrow? Right flank? Forward? Playmaker? Or deep central midfield like he did Wednesday?
A valid question. While he has put in reasonable shifts in the playmaking attacking mid role and in the center of midfield, his strongest positions seem to be right mid and forward, with the later as his likely long-term role. But all of this "where do you play him?" stuff has me thinking back a couple of years to a Saturday night at RFK. During the warmups, I was pointing out a guy to my brother that I thought he should keep an eye on during the game. A guy that had been turning my head regularly in his brief time in MLS...
Back to the present, and over on the Goffblog, first commenter robb10 chimes in with...
Does anyone else worry that by playing Pontius all over that DC United will slow down his progress this year?
Nope. If anything, the ability to play multiple positions both proves the quality of his "soccer brain" and guarantees that he'll see a lot of playing time because Tommy will be able to plug him in more holes. Sort of how that guy I was pointing out to my brother was plugged into multiple holes during his time in MLS: right back, d-mid, attacking mid, winger, forward. He too often prompted the question: "Where's his best position?" He too was a first round draft pick, going 8th overall to Pontius' 7th. He too regularly found the net in his rookie season, scoring 7 in 24 appearances, exactly the pace that Pontius (3 from 10) is on. Even today, plying his trade in arguably the best league in the world, he manages to log minutes in both wide midfield spots and up top.
And it doesn't seem to have slowed his progress too much.
Who is this masked man I speak of? Why, Clint Dempsey, of course. Pontius may not have the trickery and flair that Dempsey brings to the table, but he's never been afraid to take on defenders and may (assuming he continues to keep the ball down) become a more pure finisher in time. But both have that knack, while not being blessed with extraordinary size, strength, or speed, of having the intuitive sense and the determination to get to the right place at the right time and knowing what to do with the ball once there. Both stepped into MLS already exuding the understanding and confidence that usually comes only with years of experience. That's the type of thing that has the punditry pondering possible national team call ups. That's the type of thing that makes a fan nudge his brother during warmups, point out a kid, and say "Watch that guy. He's going places."