D.C. United announced today the club's end-of-season award winners, with several honors going to 2012 MLS Comeback Player of the Year candidate Chris Pontius.
Pontius, United's longest tenured player, tops the list by earning the 2012 Volkswagen Most Valuable Player Award, Volkswagen Fans' Choice Award, Volkswagen Goal of the Year and the club's Golden Boot.
After suffering season-ending injuries in 2010 and 2011, Pontius had a career year in 2012, setting highs in goals (12), games played (31), games started (26), minutes (2,339), shots (71) and shots on goal (29). Six of Pontius' 12 strikes this season were game-winners, tied for the club record set in 1996 by Steve Rammel and tied for third in MLS 2012.
Pontius captained the squad in place of the injured Dwayne De Rosario, the 2011 Budweiser Golden Boot winner and 2011 MLS MVP. Since De Rosario was sidelined, Pontius led United to a 5-0-2 unbeaten streak to cap off the season and a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference, vaulting the club to its first playoff appearance since 2007.
Pontius' game-changing performances earned him key awards this season, including MLS Player of the Week in Week 7, becoming the only player to be a two-time unanimous selection by the North American Soccer Reporters. In mid-July, Pontius was chosen to the 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star roster for the first time and was a part of the squad that defeated Chelsea FC (England) 3-2. Pontius was subsequently voted as the match's Most Valuable Player after scoring the game-tying goal in the 73rd minute and assisting on Eddie Johnson's game-winner in the 91st.
One of Pontius's most memorable nights with D.C. United was the April 22 home match against Atlantic Cup foe, the New York Red Bulls, when he notched his first career hat trick in a dominant 4-1 win in front of the RFK faithful. Also against New York, on June 24, Pontius scored the fastest goal in United's 17-year history with his opener 31 seconds into the game.
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