With D.C. United fighting, Coach Ben Olsen is sitting on a ‘scalding-hot seat’

Jenna Harris September 26, 2020 10 No Comments

With D.C. United struggling, Coach Ben Olsen is sitting on a ‘scalding-hot seat’

A failure to advance is all but certain to end his tenure following more than 10 years, individuals near the organization said last week. And crossing the playoff threshold may not be enough to save his job ; he’d most likely have to win a minumum of one match, said those folks, who requested anonymity to speak freely on the topic.

“Ben is not on the hot seat,” one individual said. “He’s on a scalding-hot seat.”

Team officials, including chief executive and co-chairman Jason Levien, stated they didn’t need to speculate on roster and coaching decisions. Levien and co-chairman Stephen Kaplan will be the last say on Olsen’s future.

Olsen and staff officials said that their focus is directly on key players returning from harm and turning the team leadership with 10 matches left, beginning Sunday night against the New England Revolution (4-3-6, 18 factors ) in Audi Field.

Asked if he’s discussed a particular target with his superiors, Olsen stated, “The expectations are no different than last year or the year before that. It’s to get yourself in the postseason and make a run at this thing. It’s pretty simple.”

With 10 of 14 teams at the Eastern Conference qualifying for the playoffs. D.C. sits three points from the previous six and slot from sixth location.

“This is the MLS, man,” Olsen said. “You’re three wins away from being in a playoff spot and feeling really good about yourself, so the 10 games is an eternity. Make no mistake: Our urgency has to be on very, very high right now. There are a lot of points out there.”

After the match, Olsen panned his starters, calling them “a bunch of frauds” through an aimless first half. “It looked like we were still on Sun Country Airlines or whatever we flew here.”

On Friday, goalkeeper Bill Hamid stated, “We’ll see the reaction on Sunday. That’s the biggest telltale sign of how people react to what the manager said in the media.”

Olsen, 43, is under contract through the 2021 season. A clause permits him to stay with the organization at another function at a lower salary, if management opt to create a coaching change prior to the agreement expires.

Olsen’s affiliation with United hints to 1998, when he abandoned the University of Virginia annually early to sign with MLS. Hampered by foot injuries, he murdered following the 2009 year and became an assistant trainer. Late at 2010, Olsen was named interim head coach. That offseason, in age 33, he obtained the permanent gig.

Operating under tight budget limits for several decades, he’s got a 113-134-84 regular season record. United qualified to the playoffs six of their past eight decades but has not won a postseason game because 2015 and continue appeared at the conference finals in 2012.

Olsen is next in MLS training seniority, supporting Sporting Kansas City’s Peter Vermes (11th season ). No past D.C. coach logged over three decades.

Although the pathway into the playoffs this season isn’t so difficult, United is, from a mental standpoint, in desperate need of a success. Since late last season, including the marching, D.C. is 2-7-7 using a drawback -11 goal differential. Since MLS declared in July, United is 1-5-5 with eight goals scored and five scoreless performances.

Injuries have taken a toll: Paul Arriola has yet to play this year along with another expensive designated participant, Edison Flores, has emerged in six games. Several additional regulars have missed long stretches.

“We’ve been dealt a bunch of hurdles that have halted some of the progress we’ve liked to see,” Olsen said. “It’s been a tricky year, but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe in this group.”

Before coaching Friday, the very first session following the Nashville conquer, captain Steven Birnbaum stated players “aired things out. … We can’t wait much longer. We need to have that desperation. We feel like this New England game now is almost a must-win game for us, especially for our team morale.”

Notes: Yordy Reyna, per Peruvian national group ahead obtained from Vancouver weekly, is very likely to introduction Sunday, Olsen said. … Midfielder Russell Canouse will function a red-card suspension.

D.C. United vs. New England Revolution

Records: United 2-6-5, 11 factors; Revolution 4-3-6, 18 points.

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