He stopped the bleeding.
Now, as for his sputtering team …
With a 1-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Friday, United fell to 1-3-1 through five matches and has scored just two goals (none in three away appearances).
“There was improvement in a lot of areas, so that’s a positive,” Olsen said. “Offense is struggling, and when you put new pieces into your offense [Rafael, Marcos Sanchez, Raphael Augusto], it takes time. Defensively, you can work and be organized and you can fight — and that will take care, for the most part, your defensive shape. In particular with our back four being familiar and Perry [Kitchen] being in there. But the other part is going to take time.
“Passes are a little bit off, some guys want to keep it, some guys want to go, and when we get all of that on the same page, it will get better.”
For those concerned about the slow start, Olsen offered a reminder that United began the 2012 campaign with a 1-2-2 mark. The difference, of course, is expectations are much higher this season and the core of the squad returned, which, in theory, should foster immediate chemistry.
“If you look around the league, the league is pretty poor right now,” Olsen said. “Everybody is trying to find themselves. There are a few teams that are solid and will continue to rack up points, but the rest is still finding out who they are. The key, early in the season, is to pick up points while you are still trying to find that rhythm. That is what was disappointing about the other night.”
Much of the early scorn from supporters has been directed at forward Lionard Pajoy, who has scored once but faltered on several other situations.
Is there a point where Olsen considers making a change?
“Yeah, of course. He needs to be better at finishing. Everybody knows that. He does have all these qualities that, if you have other people on the field that can put [numbers], you can sometimes get away with it.
“I believe in Lio. I believe he can get a little bit of confidence. But it hasn’t been good enough. He knows that and he is pressing to get one. Keep in mind, a lot of other guys haven’t scored on this team too. So for everybody to look at Lio right now as the reason we are not scoring goals is a little unfair. Certainly not completely unfair. That’s a reality of a [striker’s] life. You’re not scoring, people are going to look at you.
“But there has to be more service to him, we have to be more cohesive in the offensive third to get him more chances. Maybe he needs three or four [chances], but there are a lot of forwards in this league who are getting three or four and putting one in. This stuff all has to get better from a team standpoint.”
Commenting on the attack in general, midfielder Chris Pontius said: “It’s not a good feeling right now, but it’s one that can turn around with just one game of an explosion of offense.”
*Dwayne De Rosario, who missed Friday’s match with an adductor strain, jogged, sprinted and did some ball work on the side Monday.
“The leg feels good, the body feels good,” he said.
Will he play Saturday night against the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium?
“I’m hoping. It’s day to day right now. I’ll see how I feel.”
Said Olsen: “We’ll see. It’s early. We’ve got a long week ahead.”
De Rosario’s absence was magnified by the fact that three others who can provide possession were also unavailable with long-term injuries: Nick DeLeon, John Thorrington and Lewis Neal.
“Concern? Yes,” De Rosario said of United’s start. “Especially on the attacking side of things. … The main thing is creating more in the attacking third and playing with a little more joy going forward and taking a little more risk going forward.”
*DeLeon remains several weeks from returning from a hamstring injury, but “it’s healing good, I can say that.”
*Four United players on loan to the Richmond Kickers — goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, defender Taylor Kemp, midfielder Conor Shanosky and forward Casey Townsend — played 90 minutes in the third-division club’s USL season opener, a 0-0 home draw with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds. The fifth loaner, Michael Seaton, is with Jamaica’s under-17 national team at the CONCACAF championship in Panama.
*United is targeting mid-July for a home friendly against an international opponent, General Manager Dave Kasper said. United is off from league play the weekend of July 13-14. He declined to mention any potential foes. Meantime, local promoters are aiming to bring El Salvador’s national team to RFK — its home away from home for years — in late June for a friendly against a Latin opponent.
Yankee Stadium has announced two friendlies: Chelsea vs. Manchester City on May 25 and Spain vs. Ireland on June 11.
*Canada has scheduled a friendly against Costa Rica in late May in Edmonton, but because it doesn’t fall in a FIFA fixture window, United is not required to release De Rosario, Dejan Jakovic or Kyle Porter.
*DeLeon is boasting college bragging rights at RFK these days as both the Louisville men’s and women’s basketball teams are playing for an NCAA championship.
“It’s pretty sick,” he said. “I’m excited. I can’t wait for tonight.”
Any banter in the locker room?
“Nope. Nothing needs to be said,” he said, smiling. “They know what’s up.”