Carson, CA. – LA Galaxy midfielder Chris Pontius has been playing some of the best soccer of his career with either a goal or an assist in five consecutive games, but he’s taken no particular satisfaction in his sudden production.
The 31-year-old native of Yorba Linda scored his third goal of the season in the 25th minute to give the Galaxy (6-7-4) a 2-0 lead over a D.C. United team that hasn’t beaten Los Angeles on the road since July of 2005. He had another goal disallowed by a surprising offside call five minutes later, one of a number of questionable decisions made by referee Silviu Petrescu.
“He called me offside?” he asked reporters after the game. “I thought he called a foul on someone else.
“I honestly didn’t … oh, good. Good referee.”
D.C. United, just 1-7-3 on the road prior to Wednesday, salvaged a tie with two second-half goals, including the last one by Darron Mattocks in the 85th minute.
“It’s not the end of the world,” Pontius cautioned, “but we’ve got to be able to kill off games better than that. We were forced to defend a lot, and when you’re forced to defend you’re tired. Then when we won the ball we were tired.
“It’s just everything. We’ve got to do a better job communicating. We should be able to kill that game off.”
Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid is growing increasingly frustrated by his defense – “If we don’t get better defensively, it’s going to make it really tough for us,” he said — but he has had no problems with the play of Pontius, who signed with the club on Jan. 22 and is a former MLS Comeback Player of the year (2016 with the Philadelphia Union).
Pontius has been asked to play wide right in what Schmid called “a cockeyed 3-5-2” and has responded to the challenge.
“He’s been good for us,” Schmid said. “He’s combined well with (Zlatan) Ibra(himovic), connected with him on a few goals as well.
“I’ve been happy with him.”
Pontius, on the other hand, has not been happy with the Galaxy lately.
“Like the last game, these feel like losses. Especially this one at home,” he said. “It’s frustrating, it’s frustrating. Let me just say this, we can’t let it have a hangover because we have a big game on Saturday (against Columbus).
“I just think we’re looking for a game like we had against Salt Lake, one of those games where everything was clicking,” he went on, referring to a 3-0 victory over Real Salt Lake on June 9. “You get a shutout at home.