Olsen, Kasper on D.C. United’s situation

Comments from D.C. United General Manager Dave Kasper and Coach Ben Olsen on Tuesday in the aftermath of another loss:

Kasper, on the player search before the first MLS transfer window closes May 6…..

“We continue to look for options. There is no change [from last week's update]. We want to make sure it’s the right move and it’s not just to sign a player for the sake of signing a player. We’ll see how things progress over the next 10 days.”

Has the urgency increased after another loss?

“No. We still believe the answers are here in our team — some coming back from injury, but we have a lot of quality to work with and at this point we need to dig deep and grind.”

Were there things about Sunday’s result that drew greater concern?

“It’s a confidence issue right now. The guys need to dig deep and grind and take it one game at a time.”

Whenever a team gets off to a slow start, particularly in world soccer, the attention turns to the coach and whether he should stay or go. What is Ben’s status?

“Ben Olsen is not going anywhere. Ben has a been given a tough hand with a lot of injuries and he has had to change lineups. Every game, it has been something. We just need to continue to move forward.”

Olsen, on game observations two days later…..

“It was about what I thought. Some good stuff, but a lot of that good stuff comes after two lapses that cost us the game. It’s pretty simple; it’s not a complicated game to analyze. It was just not a good enough start on an average week, let alone a game that should have meant the world to this group.”

At times like these, you need leadership beyond the coaching staff. Are you starting to see that?

“I have analyzed this staff and myself for the last three weeks. I have put them under a microscope, maybe even before I put the players, but I am done with that. It is on the players now. I am going to put them under a microscope. We’ll see if that works because they were prepared [Sunday]. I trusted my staff to get these guys prepared. I have done that part. I have looked at myself and now I am going to hold [the players] to very, very high standards. If it’s not working, we will make changes. I believe in the group, but maybe it’s not the players on the field. Maybe it’s guys who are waiting. That is all stuff we have to figure out this week” ahead of Saturday night’s match at Columbus.

Do you still think this roster is good enough to win in the long run?

“There are two rosters right now. In reality, we have a healthy roster and we have a roster of some guys out. It’s reality. Are we good enough right now? I think we have the talent to be good enough. The mentality? I am not sure. That part has to get better. We had plenty of talent on the field the other night. I take that team, talent-wise, over the Philly team — and that’s with three or four injuries. But the mentality wasn’t there, so it’s useless.”

On the attack down the stretch seeking an equalizer…..

“We had more looks in that game than we did all year. So that is a step forward. We scored two goals. Offense wasn’t the problem in that game. The last 20 minutes is a circus when you are making subs and trying anything you can to get back in the game. We want to get to the point where we are not in the circus the last 10 minutes, where I am looking down the bench and I am scrambling for an option.”

*Michael Seaton, back from Jamaican under-17 national team duty, is training with the first team this week and will probably report to Richmond for workouts this weekend. The third-division Kickers (2-0-1) do not have another league match until May 3 at Wilmington.

*Taylor Kemp, among five United players on loan with Richmond, did not play in Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Rochester because of a neck strain. Andrew Dykstra and Conor Shanosky went 90 minutes apiece, while Casey Townsend, coming off a two-goal game for the Kickers, remained in Washington and was named to United’s game-day roster.

*Midfielder Marcos Sanchez, who missed Sunday’s match with a sprained ankle initially suffered a few weeks ago, “is progressing,” Olsen said. “He did some work on the side today that gave me hope he will be okay for the weekend but we still don’t know until we get to full training.”

*Midfielder Nick DeLeon, out for a month with a hamstring injury, was involved in training Tuesday for the first time but is “still a ways away,” Olsen said. “It was good he was on the field, at least, doing some things with the ball.”

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Sports
Stats, scores and schedules
Next Story
Steven Goff · April 23, 2013