MLS Insider: Tom Bogert

Sources: Ben Olsen, Hugo Perez interview for Houston Dynamo coaching job

Ben Olsen

Houston Dynamo FC have conducted an in-person interview with Ben Olsen for their head coaching job, sources confirm to The Dynamo have also interviewed El Salvador national team manager Hugo Perez, per sources.

The Athletic's Sam Stejskal and Pablo Maurer first reported Olsen's interview. They also reported Olsen and the Dynamo are "engaged in discussions" that are "far along."

Sources add the Dynamo had preliminary talks with Juan Carlos Osorio – former Mexico, Paraguay, New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire FC manager – but those inquiries didn't advance.

Olsen's background

Olsen, 45, was manager of D.C. United from 2010-20, joining the club first as an assistant during the 2010 season after retiring as a player a year earlier. By the end of 2010, Olsen was named interim manager before earning the full-time job ahead of the 2011 season. Olsen remained head coach through the 2020 season. He was named MLS Coach of the Year in 2014 and the club won the US Open Cup in 2013. Olsen's career regular-season record at the helm of D.C. United was 113W-137L-84D.

A longtime midfielder for D.C. United and the US men's national team, Olsen's professional playing career lasted about a dozen years after starring at the University of Virginia.

Perez's background

Perez, 58, is currently the manager of the El Salvador national team. He helped guide the Central American country to the final stage of the Concacaf 2022 World Cup qualifiers, though they ultimately did not earn a berth in this year's tournament. It was the first time since the 2010 cycle that El Salvador reached the final round of qualification. Perez was previously a US youth national team coach.

A dual national, the Salvadorian-born Perez earned 73 caps with the USMNT during the 80s and 90s. He featured at the 1994 World Cup.

Coach opening

Houston parted ways with Paulo Nagamura about a month before the 2022 season ended, his first as the Dynamo head coach. Houston were sitting in last place in the Western Conference when the move was announced and ended 2022 in 13th place. Kenny Bundy took over as interim manager from their MLS NEXT Pro team and impressed the club over the final month of the season.

The club underwent a makeover across the last year, with Ted Segal taking over as managing owner. Club legend Pat Onstad was named general manager during the winter and they have worked to retool the roster, headlined by the additions of Hector Herrera and Sebastian Ferreira as Designated Players.

Houston have cycled through head coaches in recent years amid a disappointing decade since Dom Kinnear left after the 2014 season. Since then, none of the full-time managers (Owen Coyle, Wilmer Cabrera, Tab Ramos and Nagamura) lasted 100 MLS games.

The Dynamo haven’t made the playoffs since 2017 – when they also won the US Open Cup. That season was the only year they made the playoffs since 2013. The Dynamo have won two MLS Cups (2006, 2007) and were finalists two more times (2011, 2012).