Chris Pontius

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Rimando, Pontius among 40 MLS players eligible for free agency

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Ahead of Tuesday’s Free Agency period, Major League Soccer released a list of 40 eligible players on Sunday.

Veterans over the age of 28 and who have played at least eight seasons in MLS qualified for the list, as well as players out-of-contract and those who didn’t have their options picked up.

[ MORE: Stanford knocks off Indiana in extra time to win third straight College Cup ]

MLS was busy earlier in the day on Sunday when several clubs announced blockbuster trades, including Kei Kamara’s move to Vancouver and expansion side Los Angeles FC’s addition of Walker Zimmerman.

A number of notable MLS veterans are included on the following list, such as Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Chris Pontius of the Philadelphia Union and New York Red Bulls defender Sal Zizzo.

NOTE: The MLS Expansion Draft will also take place on Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET as LA FC has the opportunity to select up to five players ahead of its inaugural MLS season in 2018.

Below is the full list of candidates for this offseason’s free agents.

Player Previous
Alexander, Eric HOU Out of Contract
Alston, Kevin ORL Out of Contract
Barrett, Chad RSL Option Decline
Beasley, DaMarcus HOU Out of Contract
Beitashour, Steven TOR Out of Contract
Boswell, Bobby ATL Out of Contract
Burling, Robert COL Out of Contract
Carroll, Brian PHI Retired
Clark, Ricardo HOU Option Decline
DeLaGarza, AJ HOU Option Decline
Deric, Tyler HOU Option Decline
Duka, Dilly NY Option Decline
Evans, Brad SEA Out of Contract
Francis, Shaun MTL Option Decline
Franklin, Sean DC Option Decline
Gordon, Alan COL Option Decline
Harrington, Michael CHI Option Decline
Harris, Atiba DAL Option Decline
Harvey, Jordan VAN Out of Contract
Hernandez, Jason TOR Out of Contract
Jacobson, Andrew VAN Out of Contract
Knighton, Brad NE Out of Contract
Kronberg, Eric MTL Out of Contract
Larentowicz, Jeffrey ATL Option Decline
Loyd, Zachary ATL Option Decline
Moor, Andrew TOR Out of Contract
Morales, Javier DAL Out of Contract
Neagle, Lamar SEA Out of Contract
Nyarko, Patrick DC Out of Contract
Pontius, Chris PHI Out of Contract
Reynish, Kyle ATL Out of Contract
Rimando, Nick RSL Out of Contract
Rogers, Robbie LA Retired
Rolfe, Chris DC Retired
Saunders, Joshua ORL Option Decline
Schuler, Chris RSL Option Decline
Seitz, Christopher DAL Out of Contract
Wingert, Chris RSL Out of Contract
Zemanski, Ben POR Out of Contract
Zizzo, Sal NY Option Decline

MLS Snapshot: Fire lose again, continue slide into KO round

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The game in 100 words (or less): The Chicago Fire’s slide toward the mean — some might call it regression, indicating maybe, just maybe, they overachieved during the first half of the season — continued on Saturday, following a brief reprieve to begin the month. Veljko Paunovic’s side lost its seventh game in 11 outings, falling 3-1 away to the Philadelphia Union. Bastian Schweinsteiger remains sidelined with a calf injury, but the rest of Chicago’s key figures — Nemanja Nikolic, Dax McCarty, David Accam and Matt Polster remain in place. Chris Pontius did the majority of the damage on Saturday, bagging Philadelphia’s first two goals, followed by CJ Sapong for the third. Luis Solignac grabbed a consolation goal inside the final 25 minutes, but the damage had been done. The result means Chicago (48 points) remain third in the Eastern Conference, still four points back of New York City FC and just two points clear of Atlanta United, who have two games in hand.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — ATL host MTL; RSL desperate vs. SEA ]

Three moments that mattered

10′ — Pontius heads the cross home for 1-0 — Keegan Rosenberry cut inside and delivered a delicate, left-footed cross into the box. Pontius got away from his man and met the ball with his head at the top of the six-yard box.

55′ — Pontius again, this time on the rebound — Fafa Picault’s shot was saved by Matt Lampson, but no one followed up to boot the rebound clear. Pontius reacted quickest, and the lead was two.

64′ — Sapong pokes it home for 3-0 — This is Sapong’s 14th of the season, tying Sebastien Le Toux’s club record (2010), and reminded me once again the Peter Vermes insisted on playing Sapong as a winger for multiple seasons before trading him.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Chris Pontius

Goalscorers: Pontius (10′, 55′), Sapong (64′), Solignac (67′)

Pontius replaces injured Saief on USMNT Gold Cup roster

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U.S. Men’s National Team debutant Kenny Saief’s CONCACAF Gold Cup is over before it even began.

U.S. Soccer announced Wednesday that Saief suffered a groin injury in the time since making his debut Saturday in the USMNT’s 2-1 friendly victory over Ghana and has been replaced on the Gold Cup roster by Philadelphia Union midfielder Chris Pontius.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s 2017 Gold Cup coverage ]

The outside midfielder, who plays a similar position to Saief, has six assists in 17 Major League Soccer games this season and made his first two USMNT appearances this past January and February in friendly matches against Serbia and Jamaica.

The news is a blow to the American-born and Israeli-raised Saief, who recently completed his one-time FIFA switch to play for the USMNT after making a pair of appearances in friendly matches for Israel.

Meanwhile it’s a boost to Pontius, who is enjoying some of his best soccer since overcoming a number of injury-riddled seasons with D.C. United.

Chris Pontius named MLS Comeback Player of the Year

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After moving from one Eastern Conference side to another, Chris Pontius proved his worth in 2016 and earned a league honor to boot.

[ MORE: Should Klinsmann stay on as USMNT manager after WCQ defeats? ]

Major League Soccer announced on Wednesday that the Philadelphia Union midfielder earned MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors after dazzling in his first season with the club.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverage ]

Pontius, 29, totaled led the team in goals (12) and added six assists for Jim Curtin’s side, which made the playoffs for only the second time in franchise history.

The California native joined the Union in 2016 after spending the previous seven seasons in MLS with D.C. United.

New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard and Orlando City’s Kevin Molino finished second and third, respectively, in the award’s voting.

MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 0-4 Philadelphia Union (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): There isn’t a more dysfunctional team in MLS right than the New England Revolution, who have now given up 11 goals in their last three games. Why are the Revs so bad defensively? Well, it could have something to do with the fact they’ve got one center back on their entire roster. The month is August, the season started in March. The latest side to run up the score on Jay Heaps’ bunch was the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. Alejandro Bedoya made his MLS debut after signing with the Union at the transfer deadline and went 72 minutes before being subbed out with the Union 3-0 up. The victory puts the Union (34 points) fourth in the Eastern Conference, a point ahead of the Montreal Impact, who lost on Saturday, and just two points back of the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC for second and third, respectively. The Revs, somehow, still hold a playoff spot, sixth in the East having played two more games than Orlando City SC with whom they are tied on points.

[ MORE: Previewing the rest of the MLS weekend ]

Three moments that mattered 

2′ — Sapong’s glancing finish makes it 1-0 very early — Unsolicited advice for the Revs defenders who quit on the play without a whistle being blow: Don’t.

51′ — Pontius gifted a goal for 2-0 — Reminder: the Revs are two-thirds of the way through an entire season with one center back on their entire roster. It’s going exactly how you’d expect it to go.

54′ — Marquez heads home from a corner for 3-0 — Have you heard the Revs only have one center back on their entire roster? What a joke.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Chris Pontius

Goalscorers: Sapong (2′), Pontius (51′), Marquez (54′), Alberg (90+3′)