D.C. United had a 30-40 minute “open forum” — that’s how captain Dwayne De Rosario described it — following a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at RFK Stadium on Saturday night. Behind closed doors, of course.
Consider it United’s version of the airing of grievances. Without the Festivus pole. Ben Olsen as Frank Costanza: “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people. Now, you are going to hear about them!”
My match report addressed the postgame situation.
Has Olsen lost the locker room? I don’t think so, but this club is showing signs of emotional fatigue. One can only take so much disappointment. Olsen and the players are tired, frustrated and exasperated. It’s been a long, tortuous season with almost weekly self-inflicted wounds.
Better they express their thoughts than allow them to fester. That said, Olsen must guard against sinking morale and a team fissure. Although playoff hopes died months ago, United still has the U.S. Open Cup final Oct. 1 at Real Salt Lake. It’s all they’ve got.
Five league matches — four on the road — will serve as preparation. (Actually, it’s four overall, because few of the main figures will feature in the Sept. 28 visit to Toronto.) The lone home date is a beast: Two-time defending champion Los Angeles is in town Sept. 14.
Over the next five weeks, Olsen will need to not only identify his best lineup, but lift dipping spirits amid a lost league campaign.
Next: at New York Red Bulls on Saturday night (NBC Sports Network).
Video of De Rosario’s goal, his 103rd in regular season play:
Video of Bobby Convey‘s equalizer: