The US Men's National Team called up Union midfielder Chris Pontius for the 2017 Gold Cup Group Stage, and has certainly earned his spot on the roster respectively.
Pontius was originally named to the provisional 40-man roster, but joined his fellow teammate Alejandro Bedoya and the USMNT in Group B of the competition following the Union's match against Sporting Kansas City, just in time for the USMNT's 1-1 draw against Panama.
In his press conference Wednesday, Head Coach Jim Curtin explained the honor for Pontius and Bedoya to represent the US in the Gold Cup.
"For Chris Pontius also to be called into the national team is an honor and something that we work towards," Curtin said. "Again, Chris and the first meetings we've had with him before last year even started, it was that we believed in him to get back into that national team picture. That was his goal and he achieved that."
The USMNT earned a critical three points against Martinique in the team's 3-2 victory in the second match of the group stage for the Gold Cup on Wednesday. Although he was not in the starting XI, Pontius made an impact on the match.
The midfielder made his third international appearance when he was subbed on from the bench in the 73rd minute against Martinique. Playing the final 17 minutes of the match, Pontius helped push the USMNT offense forward. It was his first cap playing for the USMNT in a tournament, as his first two caps were friendlies.
Pontius earned his first cap on January 29th in a friendly against Serbia in San Diego, California. The midfielder came off the bench replacing Bedoya and played 25 minutes in the match. Pontius earned first career start for the USMNT and second cap on February 2nd in a friendly against Jamaica.
"Bruce (Arena) holds Chris in high regard, not only in the type of player he is, but the type of person he is," Curtin said.
Pontius, Bedoya and the USMNT will complete the group stage when the team takes on Nicaragua Saturday night, with kick-off at 7:00 p.m. ET. Fans can watch the game on FXX, Univision or Fox Sports Go.