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Report: DC United coaching search has narrowed down to four candidates

UPDATE (Nov. 14, 12:24 pm ET): Two coaches who were contacted, but did not make the narrowed down list, according to Washington Post reporter Steven Goff are Eddie Howe and David Wagner. Howe, who helped AFC Bournemouth gain Premier League promotion, and Wagner, a former USMNT player who was recently let go by Schalke after a stretch of 18 consecutive Bundesliga matches without a win, are both looking to pursue opportunities in Europe, Goff tweeted. 


D.C. United are progressing in their search for a new head coach and have narrowed down the list with the goal of announcing a hire next month, according to a Monday report from Steven Goff of The Washington Post.

Per Goff, a clear frontrunner has yet to emerge in the search for a permanent replacement for longtime head coach Ben Olsen, who was relieved of the duties last month and is expected to take a role in the front office. But there are four names that are in consideration for the next phase of the search, one of whom is Chad Ashton, who finished out the season coaching the team on an interim basis following Olsen's departure.

The club saw a bit of a late-season resurgence under Ashton, just missing a berth in the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs on the final day of the season.

In addition to Ashton, the other candidates are reportedly Columbus Crew SC assistant coach Ezra Hendrickson, former US women's national team head coach Jill Ellis and former New York Red Bulls coach Chris Armas.

Hendrickson has plenty of experience in MLS, both as a player and coach. The longtime league veteran played for D.C. in 2004, and spent lengthy stints with the LA Galaxy and Columbus before moving into coaching. He also coached the Seattle Sounders' USL Championship affiliate from 2014-2018 and was an assistant on the Sounders' first-team staff for six seasons before that. He was on the Galaxy staff in 2018 before moving to Columbus in 2019.

Ellis was reported as a candidate the club was considering last month, and carries a distinguished resume as a two-time World Cup winner with the US women's national team. Should she get the position, Ellis would make history as the league's first female coach.

Armas represents another known MLS commodity, having coached the Red Bulls since 2018 before he was let go earlier this season. He was also a longtime veteran as a player, starting with the Galaxy before a 214-match run with Chicago from 1998-2007.

D.C. will no doubt take their time in assessing the hire, as they look to improve on a difficult 2020 campaign that saw them finish second from the bottom in the Eastern Conference.