Pontius joins U.S. team for friendlies against Costa Rica, Belgium

Former UCSB soccer star and current D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius has been called up to play with the U.S. National team in a couple of friendly matches this week.

Pontius will join recent call-up Jonathan Spector on coach Juergen Klinsmann’s squad for a match Friday against Costa Rica at the Home Depot Center in Carson and four days later against Belgium in Brussels. They are replacing injured defenders Zach Loyd of FC Dallas and Heath Peare of Chivas USA.

This is the second appearance in a U.S. national team camp for Pontius, who will be looking for his first cap.  He was called into the January camp in 2010, but a hamstring injury cost him a shot at making the game-day roster in 2010. He has since had surgery and is enjoying a productive season with DC United. He has scored seven goals, one more than he scored in his first two seasons.

Spector, who has 31 caps and was on the roster for the 2010 World Cup, is starting for Birmingham City of the English League Championship following a move from West Ham United.