News & Politics

D.C. United Fires Head Coach

Curt Onalfo to be replaced by former player, Ben Olsen

D.C. United fired head coach Curt Onalfo this morning, and named longtime player Ben Olsen the interim head coach, the team announced in a press release.

Olsen retired after the 2009 season as the team’s seventh all-time leader in goals scored (29). Olsen won two Major League Soccer cups with the team, in 1999 and 2004. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at the start of the season.

"My job now is to get results for D.C. United. I’ll give everything I have to do exactly that,” Olsen said in the release.

Onalfo, in his first season as head coach, led D.C. to a disappointing season, going 3-12-3 in MLS regular season play, the worst record in the league. One of the lone bright spots was the team’s victory over A.C. Milan in a friendly in May, and the team has made the semifinals in the U.S. Open Cup. They’ll play the Columbus Crew September 1 in the next Cup match.

In an interview with the Washington Post last week, United President Kevin Payne gave no hints about firing Onalfo, but said Onalfo has had a “tough” year. “There have been a lot of things out of his control that have made his job very difficult,” he said. “Curt has been through worse things in his life, and that gives him some perspective. He is as gutted as anybody about these results, but he really believes we can turn it around.”

United was expected to have a tough year after gutting much of its roster, relying on a new core of young players. So far, only 17-year-old Andy Najar has impressed, scoring three goals in his first 15 appearances.

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