D.C. United coach Ben Olsen has never been one to hold back. We distinctly recall him entering a postgame press conference after a particularly disagreeable refereeing performance during the 2011 season and asking the assembled media, "So, who wants to get me fined?"
After United fell to the Philadelphia Union 2-1 after extra time in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 Tuesday night, Olsen came out with guns blazing. First, he turned them on his team.
"We've been asking for this loss," he said. "We've got to realize that's not a good enough performance. Too many guys were on their own page. We were cute all over the field. We thought it was going to be enough to step out here and beat a team because they're a little down on their luck."
And then he moved on to the officials.
It was a typical Open Cup game. The referees were lousy - they always are - for both teams. Every Open Cup game, it just turns into an absolute circus. I don't know if that needs to be addressed or not. Maybe that's the fun of the Open Cup - that it's an absolute zoo every game. But it gets old. Believe me, I'm not blaming the referees tonight, but it doesn't help ... The refs don't know how to handle the games ever. They don't know how to punish guys when they commit a lot of fouls or should be thrown out of the game, and then it just escalates. They can't handle it. It's what it is, it's what it has always been. And again, maybe that's part of the fun of this Open Cup.
Olsen's players will have a while to digest his remarks. They don't play again until June 16 against ... you guessed it, Philadelphia.