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Can D.C. United’s Ben Olsen survive much more of this?

Apr 21, 2013, 7:14 PM EDT

Sporting KC v DC United Getty Images

You know what “gets” MLS coaches? Losing at home. That is something that Major League Soccer owners have historically been loath to countenance.

Nor should they tolerate it. Gate receipts count for a larger percentage of the total revenue for MLS clubs compared to other pro leagues here, where much larger piles of TV money always make up a larger slice of the total revenue pie.

So failure at home is a double whammy; it’s not just the losing, per se, which is bad enough. Clubs are also “losing” support at home, losing what I call “butts in seat” factor. When owners see the red ink spreading, the pressure to make changes becomes even more intense.

D.C. United just lost its third consecutive home match. Sunday’s 3-2 defeat at RFK Stadium to Philadelphia, when stacked on earlier home losses to Columbus and New York, will do absolutely nothing to lighten the hastily mounting pressure on United manager Ben Olsen.

It doesn’t help Olsen one little bit that Sunday’s clunker was on national TV, the ESPN2 match of the weekend.  Nor does it help when sharp ESPN analyst Taylor Twellman pointed out early in Sunday’s match that United seemed uninspired and, perhaps, something too close to casual. Clubs that have lost two in a row at home can be a lot of things, but “casual” is not one of them. That’s 100 percent unacceptable.

(MORE: Keystone Cops defending on Philly’s first goal Sunday)

Olsen may have a smidge of wiggle room thanks to last year’s progress, going from 9-13-12 in his first full season as head coach to a very respectable 17-10-7 mark in 2012. His men finished just short of a trip to MLS Cup, and that counts for something, too.

But … losing at home. That smarts. And that will erode any wiggle room factor, fast. United (1-5-1) remains last in the Eastern Conference.

Olsen is 30-36-20 now (including his time as “interim” manager at the end of 2010).

It’s not a terrible record. But, again, this losing at home will get old. Fast.

  1. drewvt6 - Apr 22, 2013 at 2:32 AM

    Olsen doesn’t have a lot of control over the fact his 2 best center backs are clumsy schmoes with the touch of rhinoceros in a league where the top teams have some great players in those positions.

  2. seanb20124 - Apr 22, 2013 at 7:11 AM

    Need to add quality players. Billionaire owner needs to spend some cash if he wants to win

  3. tylerbetts - Apr 22, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    If DC were stupid enough to can Olsen, I imagine there’d be about ten MLS teams, at minimum, very interested in his services.

    So, as a fan of a rival club, I hope they do it.

    Nothing to really help a tailspin extend like getting rid of a good manager, destroying continuity on a team still building, and pushing the reset buttong without reason.

    The only way I could see DC doing this would be if they changed their name to Toronto FC.

  4. jdvalk - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    Thank you; it’s ownership and the regression from last season to this due to their revenue-choking ways that’s to blame. Tell me who else at the helm would be doing better, and you’ll see the problem isn’t Olsen.

  5. talgrath - Apr 23, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Ben Olsen’s team has had (and continues to have) injuries at key positions in what was a mediocre overall line-up to begin with. If the owners of DC United want to win, they’re going to need to open up their wallets a bit and be more aggressive in courting good players.

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