Warning to readers: Today’s interview session with D.C. United Coach Ben Olsen after the squad’s close practice session at RFK Stadium was largely a tongue-in-cheek affair. It shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Except, of course, for the parts that were, in fact, serious.
Q: You’re playing the Montreal Impact at home Wednesday night. United is seeking consecutive regular season victories for the first time since 2009. How was training today?
A: It was light. Just trying to get everyone back and ready to go.
Q: Center back Dejan Jakovic, who left Saturday’s match in New England in the second half, is out for a week or two, from what I understand.
A: Yeah, Dejan is struggling a little bit, so he’s day to day at this point.
Q: Sprained ankle?
A: He’s got a sprained ankle. He’s day to day.
Q: But if it’s a sprained ankle, his condition tomorrow will be the same as today and he won’t return for a while, right?
A: Yes, it will still be sprained tomorrow.
Q: Emiliano Dudar’s hamstring is much improved after he missed Saturday’s match, correct?
A: Dudar looked good today in training, yeah.
Q: So we can expect to see him play tomorrow?
A: Well, you can expect whatever you want.
Q: I’d expect him to play. With the other injuries, you could use him.
A: We could use him. He’s doing fine. We’ve got some other options. We’re trying to piece a team together.
Q: So who is your goalkeeper tomorrow?
A: That is a good question. I haven’t decided yet.
Q: I try to ask an occasional good question. Tough decision, Joe Willis or Bill Hamid?
A:They’re all tough ones.
Q: What do you have to weigh when choosing between goalkeepers because, chances are, you’re not going to sub a goalie like you would, say, a midfielder?
A: Yes, it’s different in that case. Usually in a game, you don’t want to sub your goalkeeper at halftime.
Q: Interesting. So what do you have to balance in this case?
A: I don’t have to balance anything tomorrow. I know who is starting tomorrow. I’m just not telling you.
Q: Come on. Who is it?
A: I am going all Peter Nowak on you.
Q: Ten players and a goalie?!
A: Ten players and a goalie, yes sir.
Q: To be like Peter, United’s coach from 2004 through 2006 and the current Philadelphia boss, you would need to throw in an expletive as well.
A: $@#!& 10 players and a goalie.
Q: You’ve known Montreal Coach Jesse Marsch for a long time. Both of you played in MLS for years. You guys didn’t play with United at the same time, though. Jesse left DCU after the 1997 season and you arrived from the University of Virginia the following year. What do you think of him?
A: As we got older, we would cross paths -- in the league and maybe at national team camps. Jesse was always a guy you knew was going to be a coach. I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t say that about me. Jesse always had a great mind for the game and was a real cerebral player out there.
Q: Expansion teams are difficult to gauge because the players haven’t been together for very long, but what are your impressions of the Impact?
A: They’ve been very organized and pretty in sync with each other so far. They’re certainly a better team than their record [1-5-1] indicates. They lost a couple late that they deserved more out of. That’s part of their process: finding ways to win games. That’s our process too. They’re in every game, they grind, and they have a couple of individuals who can really put you on your heels and create some magic.
Q: United is unbeaten in four straight, coming off a good result on the road. How would you describe the vibe on your club?
A: The vibe is okay, but we need to rev it up a little more, though. Some of the things we’ve been working on are better: the concentration, the commitment, being more difficult to play against, but I still want to be better in our rhythm and our style. We’ve got to continue working on that and dominating possession. All of the things we want to do have to get better. New England was a dogfight, it was back and forth, and one of those games where I am glad we came out on the other end of it with the win, but we made that game more difficult than it needed to be.
Q: Okay, we're done. Enjoy lunch.
A: See ya tomorrow.