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Complaints from D.C. United’s Ben Olsen ring hollow

Jul 1, 2013, 11:30 AM EDT

Sporting KC v DC United Getty Images

Ben Olsen let ‘em have it. But good!

He had just seen D.C. United – surely one on the real disappointments in MLS this year – fall once again. At home. Without scoring a goal.

While perfunctorily acknowledging his team’s complicity in the latest setback (failing to score a goal at home, that is) he then proceeded to roar in the direction of referee Matthew Foerster.

The boiling point was a penalty kick awarded to Vancouver, which became the game’s only goal. Olsen was not exactly wrong; his team got a bad break when Foerster adjudged that goalkeeper Bill Hamid had fouled Vancouver’s Matt Watson. It wasn’t the worst call ever, but most referees would probably rule that Hamid did enough to get the ball to simply wave “play on.”

(Olsen was wrong about the late PK shout for his own team, a little nick of a Vancouver handball that really provided no advantage for the Whitecaps.)

So, while Olsen had a case to make, here’s the thing: his complaints ring hollow. It’s really not complicated:

You cannot win in this or any league if you cannot score one goal. At home!

You cannot win in this or any league if your offense is so pitifully ineffective that you are driving toward historic, league record lows in production. And that’s D.C. United.

Halfway through the season United has eight goals – a rate of scoring that will re-write MLS record books for offensive ineptitude.  United’s offseason personnel moves have failed spectacularly.  (More on that later … hint: it isn’t Olsen’s fault.)

An abysmal 2-12-3 record is not referee’s fault. Olsen didn’t say so, of course … but that’s how it comes across. It’s on him to recognize that.

Olsen began Saturday’s roaring rant by saying “no one want to hear the coach in last place complain about the referees.” Exactly! He should have quit while ahead.

  1. letsplay2 - Jul 1, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    So which is pettier: Olsen’s comments (which you can’t deny that they have at least some merit) or you writing an article about it?

    A blown call that determines the outcome of the game is important, regardless of who the participants are. If MLS doesn’t want to be a clown league, the officiating needs to get better. They blew this one…. and no one is surprised.

    • charliej11 - Jul 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      I didn’t think they blew the call at all. Hamid went in very dangerously. Touching the ball didn’t justify completely wiping out a player.

      Don’t think I have rooted for the Whitecaps in 35 years…and I was rooting for DC to beat the Whitecaps here too. No bias.

      • joeyt360 - Jul 1, 2013 at 7:08 PM

        Oh, no, Hamid’s play was clean. The other rant he went on, the handball, the Vancouver defender was in a natural position and that should never be a penalty.

        But in general Olsen’s just out of his mind frustrated and it’s weird to see both Paul Gardner and Steve Davis spending this much time kicking the corpse.

  2. talgrath - Jul 1, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    If a coach on a more talented team had said it wih the same score, nobody would bat an eye, it was a bad call; but when Ben Olsen says it, oh that’s just sour grapes from a losing coach. Ben Olsen was right to gripe, no matter the scoreline and no matter his team’s position in the standings, MLS needs better officiating.

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