Pontius scores hat trick to lead D.C. over New York
Washington, D.C. – Chris Pontius stole the spotlight from Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper on Sunday.
Pontius scored a hat trick to lead D.C. United to a 4-1 win over Red Bull New York at rainy RFK Stadium in Major League Soccer.
Henry and Cooper entered the match with seven goals apiece - Henry did add his eighth late in match - to fuel the highest-scoring offense in MLS, but Pontius scored twice in the first half and added his third in the second half.
Rookie Nick DeLeon added his third goal of the season for United - Pontius has four this year - as the hosts extended their unbeaten streak to six matches.
D.C. (3-2-3) lost its first two games this season, but has three wins and three draws since. United ended a four-game unbeaten streak for New York (3-3-1), and moved past the Red Bulls for second place in the Eastern Conference.
United is nine points off the pace of first-place Sporting Kansas City, but two points ahead of New York.
Pontius, who scored his first goal of the season last week in a 1-1 tie against the Montreal Impact, set the tone against New York with his first goal.
Henry turned the ball over in midfield and Pontius took the ball to the edge of the area and unleashed a 22-yard shot into the upper-right corner in the eighth minute.
Pontius followed with a second unassisted strike - this time after a deflected cross from Maicon Santos - with an easy finish from just a few yards out in the 32nd minute.
Dwayne De Rosario, the 2011 MLS MVP, remained scoreless on the year, but played a part in the third goal as his pass gave DeLeon an easy finish from the middle of the area in the 36th.
Pontius scored his third goal unassisted as well, this time off a loose ball in the middle of the pitch that he took into the area and finished to the bottom- left corner in the 69th.
Henry grabbed a share of the MLS scoring lead with San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski off a free kick that he drove into the top-left corner from a few yards outside the box in the 72nd.
But Henry did not even celebrate the goal as New York's fate was already sealed against D.C. The Red Bulls have allowed 14 goals through seven games this year. Only expansion Montreal has allowed more.
United will try to extend its run Saturday when it hosts the Houston Dynamo and N.Y. will try to rebound at home Saturday against the New England Revolution.