Ben Olsen is starting to feel the pressure, and life isn’t about to get any easier for the D.C. United coach.
Just days after acknowledging he’s on the hot seat, Olsen will look to lead his troops into the home of the MLS team with the best record, as United faces FC Dallas on short rest on Saturday. Both teams had midweek matches, but United was humiliated 4-0 at home by the Houston Dynamo for a sixth-consecutive loss.
“We have to make some changes,” Olsen said after Wednesday’s loss. “I still don’t get how it takes a coach to throw things and yell at [players] to now play with aggression and with the right spirit for 20 minutes of that second half. It’s mind-boggling to me. I don’t get it. If that’s what it takes, to get [players] to play desperate and with high concentration, some guys are in trouble with just being professional athletes. Some of this has to come from within.”
Olsen will be aided by the return of two key attacking contributors. Nick DeLeon played the final 20 minutes against Houston for his first action since March 23. Chris Pontius is said to be ready for the weekend after missing two games with a groin injury. Considering what DeLeon and Pontius meant to the club’s success last season, combining for 18 goals and eight assists, their presence is a must heading into FC Dallas Stadium, where the hosts boast a 6-1-3 record and a league-best 21 points.
Olsen, who signed a contract extension through the 2014 season in January, is well aware of where he stands with United.
“I don’t worry about my job because I understand coaches get fired,” Olsen said. “That’s completely out of my control. Is my job on the line? It better be. I’m the leader of this team, but I have faith in what I’m doing, and I’ll continue to go about my work.”