Mired at the bottom of MLS and on course to miss the playoffs
for a third consecutive season, D.C. United have made a second
coaching change in less than a year.
Interim coach Ben Olsen will try to guide United to their first
win in six games when they visit the New England Revolution on
With a dozen games remaining in the season, D.C. (3-12-3) has
the fewest points in MLS with 12 and has scored the fewest goals
(12) while giving up the most (31).
United are also enduring an 0-4-2 stretch and showed few signs
of being able to turn things around last Saturday, falling 3-0 at
The team fired coach Curt Onalfo on Wednesday, less than a year
after parting ways with Tom Soehn.
“This decision is not about placing blame, but about looking
forward,” United president Kevin Payne said. “Recent performances
have convinced us that we need to make a change at the top for the
team to improve the remainder of this season, for 2011 and
Olsen, a long-time fan favorite, helped United win two of their
league-best four MLS Cups and joined the coaching staff after
retiring at the end of last season.
“We’ve asked Ben to focus on three objectives for the balance of
this season,” Payne said. “Prepare to win the next game, demand of
our players the same commitment to the shirt that he displayed, and
determine which players demonstrate that they want to play for
United next season.”
Olsen inherits a team that was outscored 9-2 over the last six
games and has been shut out 12 times on the season.
Andy Najar has been one of the few bright sports for United. The
17-year-old forward has a team-high three goals.
D.C. went 0-2-1 in its last three meetings with New England
(4-9-3), losing 2-0 at home April 3.
The Revolution are three points ahead of D.C. in the Eastern
Conference. They are looking to carry some momentum back into MLS
play after beating Mexico’s Puebla 5-3 on penalties Wednesday to
reach the SuperLiga final Sept. 1.
New England is 3-0-1 in the tournament, but has gone 1-3-1 in
its last four MLS games, tying expansion Philadelphia 1-all last
The SuperLiga has apparently provided a boost to forward Kenny
Mansally, who scored in regulation and converted the winning
“I think SuperLiga helped me a lot,” Mansally said. “I didn’t
get a lot of chances during the league but when the SuperLiga came,
I just stepped in and tried to prove myself. It’s helping me to get
back to the way I like to play with more confidence.”
Mansally’s only two MLS goals this season came against United on
April 3. He is trying to end a nine-game drought.