For once, the home team lit up the scoreboards at RFK Stadium. Against one of the most historically powerful teams in the world, the team calling Washington, DC its home prevailed in front of a boisterous sellout crowd.
Unfortunately, D.C. United was a few hundred miles away from RFK, and doesn't have a single player with a scoring acumen close to that of Jozy Altidore or Clint Dempsey.
Instead of shocking the Germans, United suffered yet another disappointing loss. This one came at the hands of a Chicago Fire team that's also off to a poor start, despite looking significantly better than the team that they faced.
- Ben Olsen (dcunited.com): "Overall it was a lot of possession on our end, and again, we just can’t finish. They get a break on a set piece, an own goal-that’s how things are going for us right now. We have to stay together and dig in, and try to get out of this situation. Not a lot is going our way but we still need to go about this in the right way. The goals hopefully will start to come and maybe some of the luck will start to change our way"
- Chris Pontius (dcunited.com): "We give away possession too easily. I know I’m one of the guiltiest guys on the team of that. I think that’s just a combination of decision making, position on balls and not playing with confidence."
- Steve Goff (Washington Post): "United’s only hope is the summer transfer window, which is a month away. But one has to wonder whether cash-conscious management is willing to spend the money to acquire impact players. Even it does, this regular season is over. Done."
- Steve Davis (NBC Sports): "The personnel collection has been badly miscalculated; It seems inconceivable that someone, whether it is general manager Dave Kasper or Olsen, won’t soon be held accountable."
- I'm ashamed to admit it, but I actually found myself rooting for Maicon Santos to score when he came on the field. It would have served as an extra little reminder of all the terrible decisions that D.C. United made this offseason.
- For all the praise we give to Perry Kitchen for being one of the few guys on this team trending upward and who always seems to give a damn, he shouldn't be totally free from criticism. We all hoped that this would be the year that Kitchen would take a more Beckermanian role in the offense, but he hasn't. Kitchen's soccer IQ is high and his vision is great, but every long ball he hits sails out of bounds. Kitchen may want to instead go back to the Clyde Simms School Of Defensive Midfielders: pass backwards only, bro.
- It was nice to see John Thorrington back on the field for United. With Thorrington in the starting lineup, United has collected three points from two matches. Without Thorrington in the starting lineup, we have two points from 11 matches. I imagine we'll see him back in the first 11 this Saturday.
- Ben Olsen had a lot of good traits as a player, and he's trying his best to instill some of those in his players: work rate, tenacity, bite. But Olsen's worst trait as a player was his bad temper, and his inclination to chatter with opponents as well as the referee, and this game gave us another example of how this can serve as a detriment to D.C. United. Watch the replay of the Mike Magee goal and you'll see a United player trailing just a step behind Magee. But rather than sprinting to try to catch him, James Riley instead take a split second pause to raise his hand and yell at the referee that Patrick Nyarko was offside.
The Last Word
I'm not going to if you think Olsen SHOULD be fired, or if you think he WILL be fired, or even WHEN you think he'll be fired. Instead, I want to focus on a different question. WHO is it that has the power to fire Ben Olsen?
Prior to this season, we knew the answer to this question. It was Kevin Payne. You know, that guy who has managed to turn Toronto FC around in his first few months on the job while his previous club falters? Payne was the one holding the coaching staff and general manager accountable. For all his failures on the stadium front, at least we knew one thing for sure about Payne: he always always always had United's best interests in mind. He always had our backs.
Who has our backs now?
The guys that are supposed to be running this franchise appear to be more focused on teams like the Memphis Grizzlies, Indonesia Warriors, and Inter Milan. But you know what? I don't fault them for that. Erick Thohir and Jason Levien are rich, powerful, and successful men. Of course they can't focus all their time on D.C. United. But United deserves more time from its top executives than its received.
So I have a new proposal. It's obvious that this club needs change, but it's not so obvious that anyone currently employed at D.C. United knows what that change should be. And it's becoming more obvious by the day that Thohir and Levien are not the kind of leaders that Payne was for this franchise. And so my proposal is that the team should find itself a new Kevin Payne. United should hire a new Team President.
Now is the time for Levien and Thohir to make a statement. Not just by firing Olsen, because putting Chad Ashton or anyone else in charge of this roster isn't likely to make much of a difference in the standings. But by handing off some power to another individual who is qualified to make tough decisions. Someone who can occupy an office in RFK Stadium every day and use it to hold Olsen and Kasper accountable, like they were under Payne. Someone who can give us fans the time that we deserve.