Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By CARL SETTERLUND
It looks like D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen’s success this season is enough to keep him at RFK Stadium into the future.
With a worst-to-first turnaround in the works, the Washington Post is reporting that Eastern Conference leader D.C. United is in the process of finalizing a long-term extension with Olsen, who is in the final year of his contract.
Talks over an extension reportedly began during July and a source says the fourth-year coach has agreed to terms with D.C., although the length of the extension is not yet clear.
D.C. United managed just three wins last year, although it’s worth noting that they did win the U.S. Open Cup.
Olsen’s squad has already completed one of the most drastic turnarounds in MLS history, with a 14-8-4 record in 2014. The team currently holds a four-point lead atop the Eastern Conference, while sitting just two points off the pace for the Supporters’ Shield.
Here are some other notes from around MLS:
EARTHQUAKES RUMORED CLOSING IN ON RIGHT BACK SIGNING
The San Jose Earthquakes have been trying to spruce their right back spot since trading away Steven Beitashour to the Vancouver Whitecaps this past offseason.
The San Jose Mercury News says the Earthquakes took another stab at it on Tuesday, reporting the unconfirmed acquisition of 27-year-old Uruguayan Pablo Pintos. Pintos last played in the Uruguayan Primera División for Defensor Sporting of Montevideo — the club he originally came up with as a teenager — earlier in 2014.
The move for Pintos has been rumored for over a month — that’s because right back has been a spot the Earthquakes have struggled to shore up this season. German import Andy Görlitz suffered a season-ending knee injury in May. In the meantime, the Earthquakes have mostly used Brandon Barklage and Shaun Francis at right back.
The 6-foot-tall Pintos has previously featured for Argentine club San Lorenzo, while he’s had less successful stints with Getafe of La Liga, Turkish club Kasımpaşa, and Tigre, also in Argentina.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport, he was reportedly set to join Serie A’s Lazio in 2010, but that move was blocked due Italian Football Federation transfer rules.
Pintos has also thus far not been able to break into the Uruguayan National Team.
RAPIDS HINT AT CENTER BACK REINFORCEMENTS
Colorado Rapids technical director Paul Bravo is hinting at a new addition to the club’s center back corps, although he’s not naming his target just yet.
“We’ve been working on him for a couple of weeks now,” Bravo said on Tuesday. “Sometimes these things go quickly, sometimes they go slow. But more importantly we feel that we’re close enough to where we’ve started to make plans to bring the player in to finalize negotiations.”
The Rapids have been thin in the back following significant knee injuries this season to Drew Moor and Shane O’Neill.
Bravo felt comfortable providing clues as to the potential signing, describing his as a European veteran.
“(His) strengths are experience, leadership qualities, he’s going to be very good in the air,” Bravo said. “He’s also going to be somebody who can command the whole group out on the field from that position. The experience is a big factor, too.”
Multiple reports have stated that the leading centerback target is Englishman Zat Knight, who has previously played for Fulham, Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers. Knight is currently a free agent.
MLS DISCIPLINARY COMMITTEE HANDS DOWN PAIR OF SUSPENSIONS
The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced five decisions today, including one-game suspensions to Chivas USA forward Erick Torres and Montreal Impact defender Hassoun Camara.
For Torres, it’s an second game added to his time off, having received an automatic one-game suspension for a red-card foul on a dangerous 75th-minut tackle on the LA Galaxy’s Baggio Husidic last weekend.
Camara will only miss one game, as he was only shown a yellow card for his tackle on the Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuain in the 64th minute of Montreal’s 2-0 win over the Columbus.
Seattle Sounders midfielder Gonzalo Pineda and D.C. United midfielder Luis Silva both received fines for simulation, while the committee warned Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo for violating the league’s mass confrontation policy in the 42nd minute of their game last Saturday.
What do you think of these reports? Do you see Olsen signing an extension? Do you expect Pintos to be the answer at right back for San Jose? What impact would a quality center back have on Colorado?
Share your thoughts below.