As new signings arrive, DC United keep fighting amid fading playoff hopes

WASHINGTON – After seeing Lloyd Sam receive a straight red card just before halftime and Steve Birnbaum redirect the ball into his own net as D.C. United settled for a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC Saturday night, Ben Olsen could’ve dwelled on that four-letter ‘L’ word.

He didn’t.

“It’s easy for us to feel unfortunate this year,” said Olsen after the stalemate at RFK Stadium. “It’s not what we’re about right now. Another own goal. It stacks up. A red card, an own goal. Each game has its own story. So what? What are you going to do about it? What’s your response to all of this?

“It would be easy for these guys to not be selfless, and disciplined in the second half, and throw their hands up. There’s been a lot of things that have not gone our way this year. But they didn’t.”

Olsen chose to focus on the sweet more than the bitter after a game in which Kofi Opare's 6th-minute goal helped D.C. snap a six-match losing streak and avoid tying a club record, yet still didn't result in three desperately-needed points in a deteriorating season.

“My hope is that this will push us forward, and make us better as a group,” Olsen said. “And hopefully we can start getting three points, because it’s a necessity at this point.”

D.C. midfielder Marcelo Sarvas couldn’t quite match that optimism, even after holding the Reds without a shot on goal once United went a man down.

“I think it’s not the result we deserved today,’ Sarvas said. “[But] the message is important, that we showed that no one is happy with the situation we are in.”

D.C. already announced the signing of teenage Bolivian striker Bruno Miranda on Thursday, Olsen promised “there would be a signing or two” before the secondary transfer window closes – and Hungarian international winger and reported United target Zoltan Stieber was spied in the RFK concourses on Saturday.

Even if reinforcements come too late to salvage this season from a competitive standpoint, their imminent arrival may have already added an extra edge to the Black-and-Red’s effort.

Sarvas said they are welcome, even if the 35-year-old Brazilian or one of his current teammates lose playing time as a result.

“We don’t have the luxury to say that we don’t need this or that,” Sarvas said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s my position, it’s a forward or wing. I don’t know what’s coming, because it’s not up to me. But if the player that comes comes with the same intent to help everyone here, it’s important.”