Chris Pontius was inches away from glory in his international debut Sunday against Serbia in an international friendly that ended in a scoreless draw at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium.
Pontius, who checked into the game in the 65th minute for teammate Alejandro Bedoya, pounced on a loose ball in the box in the 90th minute and fired a left-footed shot that beat the keeper but just missed the inside of the far post.
“I think everyone will say that their first and you know every cap is an honor to play for your national team,” Pontius said in a post-game interview. “It’s been something that you dream about as a little kid and something that as a pro I’ve been working for my whole career.”
The 29-year-old who led the Union in goals last season with 12 en route to winning MLS Comeback Player of the Year had been called into training camps for the U.S. team in 2009, 2010 and 2011 without making an appearance.
“The only thing I wish I wish I would have been able to put that one on my left in the back of the net and win it for us but other than that I’m happy and hopefully this is just the start,” Pontius said.
Bedoya earned his 56th cap with the start out wide on the right and had another fine showing in the stadium where he scored his first international goal in a 6-0 win over Guatemala on July 5, 2013.
Keegan Rosenberry was in training camp with the U.S. team but was one of five players trimmed from manager Bruce Arena’s roster ahead of the match. Sporting Kansas City winger Graham Zusi started and played the full 90 minutes at right back in Arena’s first game back after leading the team for an eight-year stint that ended in 2006.
The U.S. will next travel to Chattanooga to take on Jamaica on Friday night. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake and Bethlehem Steel forward Cory Burke are both expected to be with the Reggae Boyz for the friendly.