(Updated, 11:20 p.m. ET: Long story short, better effort but same result in a 2-1 loss. More later on the blog …)
D.C. United manager Ben Olsen clearly knows that something has to change around a team that cannot arrest the downward spiral.
Olsen’s team has lost six in a row, a club record. That includes an absolutely embarrassing 4-0 pounding at home Wednesday to MLS Cup runner-up Houston.
So the league’s youngest manager has responded with five lineup changes for tonight’s match against league-leading FC Dallas, including a couple of real talkers.
Goalkeeper Joe Willis, center back Ethan White and forward Casey Townsend will get their first starts of 2013 for United. Willis replaces U.S. under-23 international Bill Hamid, who has given up some bad goals this year – but who has also made some brilliant stops and hasn’t gotten a lot of help lately.
Willis looked great as Willis’ early season replacement last year during an injury for the Black and Red’s No. 1.
As for that “help” that Hamid has missed recently, White replaces the struggling Brandon McDonald. James Riley replaces Daniel Woolard in a shakeup along the outside in the back.
Nick DeLeon gets his first start since recovering from injury, replacing Marcos Sanchez on the outside of United’s midfield.
At striker, where United simply cannot find an answer in 2013, recent Richmond Kickers call-up Townsend is the next to audition for the position.
By the way, Chris Pontius is not on the trip; Olsen had hoped to get the former fast-riser, whose 2013 struggles have been part of the bigger problem around RFK, back into the rotation this week. Clearly, that won’t happen now.