*In another sign he is returning as D.C. United’s head coach next season, Ben Olsen will fly to Germany on Monday to observe training sessions and matches. The mission is not necessarily to target players but to learn about routines and methods. Among the destinations: Borussia Moenchengladbach. Neither Olsen nor General Manager Dave Kasper specified the other clubs on the itinerary.
*Predictably, United declined to exercise an option to acquire Indonesian midfielder Syamsir Alam, a social media sensation who, during a season-long loan from Belgian club Vise, did not appear in any league or U.S. Open Cup matches. Alam, 21, reported to Indonesian under-23 camp in July and never rejoined United.
Erick Thohir, the club’s primary benefactor, had encouraged United to acquire a fellow Indonesian. It was clear in preseason, however, that Alam was not good enough to play in MLS, even for a team that ended up with the fewest victories in MLS history. Furthermore, United didn’t bother loaning him to its third-division affiliates, the Richmond Kickers. His salary cap hit was just $46,500.
United has now officially cut ties with five players: Alam, Dwayne De Rosario, Lionard Pajoy, Carlos Ruiz and Marcelo Saragosa. Several additional moves are expected in the coming weeks.
Current salary cap savings: $750,000.
*It is unclear whether Swiss defender Dennis Iapichino will return next season. In a message posted on his Twitter page Thursday night, he wrote: “going home to Europe, wanna thank everyone, team, staff and all fans for the amazing support.”
Asked for clarification, a United spokesman said the sides are in talks and no final decisions have been reached. Signed in mid-August after a year with the Montreal Impact, Iapichino made six appearances (four starts) and played 90 minutes at left back in each of the final three matches.
*Will the iconic Volkswagen logo grace United’s jersey next season? I continue to receive mixed signals, but the prevailing thought is that VW is not likely to return as the club’s primary sponsor. The company has an option for 2014 after a six-season affiliation with the MLS side. The club has engaged in talks with other potential partners, I’m told. Volkswagen’s sponsorship with the league runs through next season.