The Washington Post

Few minutes with United’s Jason Levien

Despite a “deep level of disappointment” about a league-worst start, D.C. United managing partner Jason Levien said the MLS club does not plan to make a coaching or management change but is prepared to upgrade the roster.

In an interview with the Insider on Monday night, Levien said Coach Ben Olsen and General Manager Dave Kasper are “smart and well-equipped to lead us. We are going through a rough spot but we are sticking with their leadership moving forward. We have a lot of confidence in the coaching staff and the front office.”

Five months since advancing to the Eastern Conference finals, United (1-6-1) has scored just four goals and posted the fewest points (four) in the 19-team league. On Saturday, in a 3-0 defeat at Columbus, United conceded three first-half goals and was shut out for the fourth consecutive time on the road.

In the club’s 18-season history, only the 2010 squad (1-7-0) had a worst record after eight matches.

“It’s been painful,” Levien said. “However, we are also cognizant we are only eight games into the season. It does force you to re-evaluate your personnel and your plan, and part of that may mean making moves. But we don’t want to make knee-jerk decisions either.”

A week remains in MLS’s current transfer window, but with sparse options, the abundant summer signing period (July 9-Aug. 8) and the trade market offer greater possibilities.

Levien challenged a growing perception that United is not willing to spend on high-impact, high-priced players until the team improves revenue streams with completion of a new stadium.

“We are willing to spend what it takes to be competitive at the upper echelons of the league,” he said. “The revenue streams are still not there, but while we are mindful of that, we want to win. And we owe it to our fans and our own competitive nature to assemble a roster that can compete with anyone in the league.”

United has engaged in trade talks, but most teams are content with their personnel at this early stage of the season. One source familiar with the league said potential trade partners want either Chris Pontius or Nick DeLeon — two players that D.C. is unwilling to deal.

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.



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Steven Goff · April 29, 2013