Just six games into his second season, D.C. United has fired head coach Hernan Losada. The move, first reported by The Athletic, comes after a four game winless streak in the league and a 3-0 win against NISA side Flower City Union in the US Open Cup last night. Reports say that long-time United assistant coach Chad Ashton will take the interim reigns for the rest of the year.
According to The Athletic and the Washington Post’s Steve Goff, relationships with players and with the front office led to Losada’s dismissal. For example, The Athletic reported that
Sources indicated that Losada has had a tenuous relationship with some players as well as members of the club’s front office, including sporting director Dave Kasper and GM Lucy Rushton, as well as with ownership.
In addition, Steve Goff reports:
Many players were turned off by Losada's management style. Certainly played a role in Arriola's departure. Things reached a breaking point leading to Open Cup game in Rochester. Among the issues: Losada wanted Birnbaum to travel, front office overruled him.— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 20, 2022
I have a number of initial thoughts on all of this, that I’m sure will evolve over the course of the next days and weeks. Firstly, I am disappointed that the rumor is for Ashton to take over for the entire rest of the year. I was hoping that a firing this early meant that Dave Kasper and Lucy Rushton wanted to find a new coach over the summer window, and bring that person in to work hand-in-hand with Ashton for the balance of the season. Seemingly punting that decision 8 months down the road doesn’t give you a lot of options for overseas coaches, and many of the exciting assistants D.C. United were interested in a year and a half ago have already been snapped up.
In addition, Losada only really got this year to implement his system with a semblance of his players. The performance in six games has been disappointing, but the previous coach got 10 years. But, Ben Olsen never lost the locker room, and it seems like Losada in a short period of time this year. This team has favored player coaches for a long time, and the system coach didn’t last.
Kasper and Rushton will hopefully have a lot of moves to make this summer, because by firing Losada now they are really saying that the team is theirs, and not the coaches. If they want it, now they need to do their job.