With all the nasty soccer that was seen Saturday evening, it was a completely different kind of dirty that was on display when D.C United defeated the New York Red Bulls, 4-1, on Sunday.
Chris Pontius, United's forward -turned-midfielder-turned-forward-again, dazzled the fans at RFK Stadium with his three-goal performance and avenged last year's 4-0 home loss to New York.
Eight minutes into the match, Pontius stripped the ball from Thierry Henry in the midfield and blasted the ball from about 20 yards out to give D.C. the 1-0 lead.
In the 32nd minute, he again found the back of the net after Maicon Santos' shot from the edge of the six-yard box, after Santos had dodged several tackles along the end line, was deflected and the ball landed on front of the feet of Pontius.
The hat trick was wrapped up with spectacular fashion as the Southern California native dribbled the ball down the midfield, through several tackles, and slid it past New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
Pontius came into MLS as a forward from UC Santa Barbara but was shifted as a wide midfielder. He suffered a season-ending injury last year, and he hadn't been able to regain his form in the midfield.
With the lack of productivity at D.C. United, head coach Ben Olsen decided to use Pontius up top. The move has payed dividends as Pontius has scored four goals this season, which has been a welcomed surprise to Olsen.
“He still doesn’t know how to play forward though," said Olsen to dcunited.com after the match. "And that’s a scary thing. He’s still new at the position, and some of his movements can get a lot better. But three goals aren’t too bad.”