Ownership around RFK Stadium seems amenable to bringing back manager Ben Olsen for a fourth season in charge at D.C. United. So says Steven Goff of The Washington Post, citing team sources.
Olsen, still Major League Soccer’s youngest manager, has a year remaining on his contract, which may be part of the motivation for keeping him. The team continues to lose money – that ongoing attachment to RFK Stadium is a real fiscal ball and chain, dragging the club perennially under water – so perhaps paying Olsen to leave just isn’t something the club can countenance.
Still, Olsen did have one good season, the 2012 campaign. There’s that, at least. And there was a 2013 title, last week’s U.S. Open Cup.
The bigger surprise may be that GM Dave Kasper will apparently be retained. There is zero evidence that Kasper can assemble a winning roster. (We’ve written about it before.) Perhaps we can say that Kasper is now free to build a roster without meddling from Kevin Payne, who left before the 2013 season.
But this year was a disaster. Besides, it’s a bottom line business, and Kasper bears some responsibility, at very least, for a franchise that is about to miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. Imagine that! In a league where it has always been mathematically easier to make the playoffs than miss them, that is absolutely inexcusable and unacceptable. It’s just this side of incomprehensible!
(And I’m not buying the “injury” excuse for 2013 around RFK. Lots of clubs deal with injuries; some have had it must worse that United this year. Even if you accept that injuries played a big part, being historically bad makes this a different conversation.)
If current ownership is willing to accept this, then they deserve whatever they get going forward.