WASHINGTON -- After D.C. United completed a miserable three-match homestand with a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Fire on Saturday afternoon, head coach Ben Olsen admitted some of the answers for his struggling club may not currently be on the payroll.
“We’re realistic in that we understand we need to get better, and we will get better in the [summer] transfer window,” Olsen said at his postmatch press conference.
Pressed on whether such signings would be minor in nature, Olsen replied “No. We need to get better.”
United failed to score a single goal in the homestand while falling in defeats to the Montreal Impact, the Philadelphia Union, and Chicago on successive weekends. They did not have a shot on goal until the second half on Saturday, and have now been shut out in seven of their 11 matches.
“[The Fire are] good. We’re not at the moment,” Olsen said. “It’s on me to fix it.”
D.C.'s three-match home losing streak is now the club's longest since dropping four in a row at RFK Stadium during their abysmal 2013 campaign. United also lost three straight at home to open the 2010 schedule.
The Black-and-Red finished last in the Eastern Conference in both those seasons, and currently sit in the basement through the first two-and-a-half months of the campaign.
Still, Olsen insisted that, between next week’s return of Luciano Acosta from a red card suspension and the nearing reintroductions of Patrick Nyarko and Rob Vincent from injuries, he believes this team won’t repeat those infamous campaigns.
"Those records, we break them every year," Olsen said. “There’s a lot of men in there that are pretty disappointed and historically have been able to respond. I guess that’s my answer."
With Acosta out against the Fire, United were definitively second best going forward, even though Olsen wondered if David Accam’s game-winner -- and sixth goal of the season -- was onside.
“I thought it could’ve went either way,” Olsen said. “But we’ve got to score some goals. It’s easy to just highlight that one, but we have to take a little bit off our defense, and the few chances that we’ve got, we have to finish. It doesn’t take 10 chances to win games in this league.”
United at least managed to keep MLS goal-scoring leader Nemanja Nikolic out of the net for the first time in five matches, thanks to a first-half intervention from Chris Korb and a couple fine late saves by Bill Hamid.
With Korb making his first start since August 2015 after a long recovery from a knee injury, Steve Birnbaum returning from a concussion, and Hamid playing near his 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year form, a little offensive improvement could have gone a long way on Saturday.
D.C. United will not hang their heads about that, however.
“You can’t dwell on it too much. You’ve just got to move forward,” Korb said. “We’re getting some chances. I feel like once we get that first goal, it’s going to turn things around. We’re just waiting for that one.”