DC United head coach Ben Olsen
USA Today Sports

Ben Olsen to put DC United players "under a microscope" amidst four-game skid

WASHINGTON – The fall from Eastern Conference finalists to last place in the Eastern Conference a mere two months into the 2013 MLS season hasn’t been a pleasant one for D.C. United.

And after another disheartening effort Sunday in a 3-2 loss against the Philadelphia Union at RFK Stadium – a game during which United conceded goals in the seventh and 11th minutes – the club is searching for answers.

Coach Ben Olsen suggested Tuesday after training that changes to the lineup might be coming soon if the results don’t improve.

“I’ve analyzed this staff and myself for the last three weeks,” Olsen said. “I’ve put them under a microscope, maybe even before I put the players, but I’m done with that and it’s on the players now. I’m going to put them under a microscope.

READ: Alarm bells ringing for United in the midst of a four-game losing skid

“We’ll see if that works, because they were prepared. I trusted my staff to get these guys prepared. I’ve done that part. I’ve looked at myself and them and now I’m going to hold them to very, very high standards. If it’s not working, we’ll make changes.”

Olsen’s strong words come amid a four-match losing streak for United which has seen the club drop three of those four games at RFK and be outscored, 8-4. D.C. doubled their goal total for the season Sunday when they scored twice.

“I believe in the group, but maybe it’s not the players on the field. Maybe it’s guys that are waiting,” Olsen said. “That’s all stuff that we’ve got to figure out this week.”

United midfielder Perry Kitchen, who scored one of United’s two goals, the second of his career, agreed with Olsen.

READ: A look into the United loss to Philadelphia

“They’ve prepared us. They’re doing everything from their side. We just have to go out and execute the game plan and do what we know we can do," Kitchen said. "It’s definitely on us, we just haven’t been performing for a full 90 minutes and that’s not a good recipe for success.”

United are dealing with a number of injuries to key pieces of the midfield – including Nick DeLeon and Marcos Sánchez, both of whom did work on the side at Tuesday’s training session – but aren’t fond of using that as an excuse for the team’s poor performance.

“Are we good enough right now?” Olsen said. “I think we have the talent to be good enough. The mentality, I’m not sure. That part has to get better. There was plenty of talent on that field the other night. I’d take that team, talent-wise, over the Philly team and that’s with three or four injures. But the mentality wasn’t there, so it’s useless.”

Stay connected: The official MLS app keeps you connected with the latest news, highlights, scores, standings, and analysis all for FREE. Download for iOS (Apple) or Download for Android