The primary problem with friendlies between in-season MLS teams and preseason European clubs is the difference in priority.

Consider Wednesday’s meeting between D.C. United and Olympique Marseille at Audi Field, a game that turned into an 8-1 laugher for the French side.

United Coach Ben Olsen is concerned about the Eastern Conference race and, specifically, Saturday’s trip to Chicago, not an inconsequential result against a prominent foe.

Accordingly, his 18-man roster included three regulars, a 16-year-old prospect, an attacker signed earlier in the day and eight players from second-tier Loudoun United. The outcome was hideous; Marseille scored seven times in the second half.

“I don’t like losing like that; nobody does,” Olsen said. “It’s not a lot of fun, and you can write it off as they are a great team. But we are still competitors and you don’t like to eat that many goals. I don’t care if I am in my backyard with my children.”

What did Olsen get out of this match?


“It was on the schedule.”

“I am not going to watch that tape, no.”

Olsen was embarrassed by the margin and seemingly irritated the game was scheduled at a time when his team is locked in a hot race for a top playoff seed. Three days after losing at Atlanta and three days before facing Chicago, he could not afford to use his primary players, such as Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta.

United is third in the conference, four points behind first-place Philadelphia.

“They brought in some world-class players, and that coincides with us playing some guys — let’s be honest — who should not be set up to fail against an extremely talented team,” Olsen said. “That’s what happens. They don’t let you off the hook.”

Olsen used secondary players May 22 during a 5-2 loss to Spain’s Real Betis. The final friendly is Sept. 4 against Puebla of Mexico.

Three weeks from the Ligue 1 opener, Marseille Coach Andre Villas-Boas took a more serious approach, starting seven first-choice players, including Dutch national team midfielder Kevin Strootman. His subs were just as good.

Despite the personnel disparity — and a 1-0 gap on Strootman’s penalty kick in the 28th minute — United drew even just before halftime when Quincy Amarikwa headed in a corner kick provided by Gordon Wild, a former Maryland Terrapin who practiced once before signing Wednesday.

Waived by Atlanta last week, the German-born Wild, 23, will provide attacking depth in the final third of the regular season. He will also see time with Loudoun United.

United’s hopes were short-lived. Marseille scored four times in the first 12 minutes after intermission.

Substitute Nemanja Radonjic broke the tie in the 48th, racing along the left side and beating second-choice goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Off a corner kick in the 52nd minute, Maxime Lopez scored on a one-timer from the top of the penalty area. In the 55th, Bouna Sarr scored from the back side, and two minutes later, Lopez struck from 12 yards.

Marseille, which finished fifth in 20-deep Ligue 1 last season, completed a three-game stay in Washington: It won a French preseason tournament, defeating Bordeaux and Saint-Etienne at the Buzzard Point venue.

Seitz was under barrage most of the second half and made several sterling saves before conceding three goals in the last seven minutes before a crowd of 8,973.

“For the first 45 minutes, we defended well as a block,” he said. “We looked like a team. And then for whatever reason, we got isolated and lost individual battles and started to get a little leaky.”

Notes: The U.S. men’s national team is tentatively scheduled to play Cuba in a Nations League match Oct. 11 at Audi Field, people close to the selection process said. Last month the Americans hosted Jamaica in a friendly there.

The world champion U.S. women are slated to visit Audi Field on Nov. 7 against an opponent to be determined. An official announcement about the men’s and women’s matches is expected in the coming weeks. ...

With Wild’s signing, United waived rookie defender Akeem Ward, who made one MLS appearance and played regularly for Loudoun United. ...

In another sign he is not in Olsen’s plans, Zoltan Stieber, one of the club’s highest-paid players, was not included on the game-day roster Wednesday after being left out of recent regular season matches.