United-Revolution Preview

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

Saturday night.

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

Salt Lake.

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

penalty Wednesday.

“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.