WASHINGTON – As D.C. United coach Ben Olsen answered questions following an embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Dynamo on Wednesday night at RFK Stadium, he searched for the words to describe his club’s increasingly poor play.
United have now lost six matches in a row and have been outscored 15-3 during that stretch, which includes four games at RFK Stadium.
With his team off to such a dismal start, is Olsen feeling any pressure?
“I don’t worry about my job because I understand that coaches get fired. And I’ve seen coaches get fired for less than 0-and-7 in the last seven games,” he said, referencing the number of matches since United’s last win. “But I don’t worry about it because that’s completely out of my control.
“Is my job on the line? It better be. I’m the leader of this team. But I have faith in what I’m doing and I’ll continue to go about my work.”
After so much emphasis during United’s week-and-a-half of training prior to the match was placed on a good start, on positive energy, on focus and hustle, the league’s worst club entered its home locker room down two goals at the half. Olsen let loose.
“I still don’t get how it takes a coach to come in and throw things and yell at you to now play with aggression and with the right spirit for 20 minutes out of that second half,” Olsen said. “It’s mind-boggling to me. I don’t get it.
“Maybe I’ll do that from the start. If that’s what it takes to get you to play desperate and with high concentration, some guys are in trouble with just being professional athletes. Some of this has to come [from] within. I don’t know. It’s confusing to me.”
For the third match in a row, poor defending by United led to a multiple-goal first-half deficit as on this night – in a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Championship pairing – only one team looked like a playoff contender.
“Most of all, I think I’m disappointed in the lack of character right now,” said United captain Dwayne De Rosario.
While Olsen unleashed his frustration on the group in the locker room at halftime, so too has De Rosario been imploring his teammates to find a spark, to generate some sort of hope that things can turn around for a club that has four points through nine matches.
“I’ve been doing a lot of screaming and a lot of yelling and you see it’s the same thing,” De Rosario said. “You look at it and you say that guys have got to look in the mirror and take a gut check. This is our life, and you’ve got to play with that passion and I just don’t see that consistently from everyone.”