WASHINGTON, D.C. - Not many could have felt the sting of the 1-1 draw as acutely as D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen did. The breaks of the match summed up a frustrating home season for the Black-and-Red, in which they have notched only 20 of a possible 48 points with one home match still to play on Saturday against Sporting Kansas City.
But the results were inescapable and Olsen had to face up to the fact that his beloved club would not be participating in the MLS playoffs for the fourth straight season, an unprecedented drought for one of the original MLS franchises.
"I am extremely proud of the guys [and] extremely disappointed that we haven't made the playoffs," Olsen said. "Again, I apologize to the fans and the organization. I'll take the blame for it. I can promise you I'll get better as a coach, and this team will get better."
Olsen admitted that Blake Brettschneider's 89th-minute header that was chalked off for offside should not have counted: "Yeah, he's offside. I didn't think so at the time, but it was a good call because Troy [Perkins] is out. So basically you get one-versus-one back there."
The head coach didn't let match officials completely off the hook, however, as he drew attention to what he thought was a lack of protection for Dwayne De Rosario, who appeared to be less-than-completely fit as the season wound down (thanks in large part of a glut of D.C. United fixtures and World Cup qualifying duty for Canada).
"It seems like it's a new one every week - they are just kicking the [expletive] out of him," Olsen said. "I would do the same thing if I was playing Dwayne De Rosario. It's what [other players] are doing, and [the referees] have to protect him a little bit. He's taking all these knocks, and he labored through the first half, and somehow he found a way to put us on his back."
"We have been haunted by similar things throughout the year," Olsen concluded. "Balls whipped in; we have probably given up more crosses than any team in the League. But that is something I know now, that is something we need to work on. We have recurring themes that I need to sort out. And that is on me to figure out. Next year, who's here, who's not. We will do that - we will make a better team next year."
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