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D.C. United fires Onalfo, Olsen named interim coach

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D.C. United has endured a nightmare 2010 season and Curt Onalfo has paid the price for the team's disappointing results. The first-year D.C. coach has been fired and has been replaced by D.C. assistant and legendary D.C. United player Ben Olsen.

D.C. has crawled to a league-worst 3-12-3 record this season, and while injuries have taken their toll, the team has looked extremely poor at times even when fielding close to full-strength teams.

Olsen takes over on an interim basis, and while he is a respected former player, he lacks head coaching experience. D.C. United could be tempted to make a run at U.S. national team head coach and former D.C. United assistant Bob Bradley, who has yet to sign a new deal with U.S. Soccer for after 2010.

Onalfo was hired in the off-season to replace Tom Soehn, who left after not being re-hired. Soehn has since moved on to become technical director of the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps.

D.C. United hired Onalfo after being turned down by Akron University head coach Caleb Porter. D.C. passed on other candidates such as Denis Hamlett and Richie Williams before settling on Onalfo, who was fired as Kansas City head coach a year ago.

So who will coach D.C. come 2011? You can expect D.C. to make a run at Bob Bradley, and another run at Caleb Porter can't be ruled out. Hamlett is a local product who is still available, but Williams is unlikely to be considered nor do I think he's that interested in being D.C. United's head coach. Olsen could gain momentum as a long-term option if he can help the club finish the 2010 season strongly.

What do you think of this development? Was it inevitable? Think Onalfo shouldn't be the only person to be sent packing?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Anytime a team full of MLS veterans with an MLS veteran coach has only 3 wins and is in last place in the league, the coach needs to go. And Tim F., you’re right in that Onalfo didn’t assemble most of the roster. All through preseason when other posters would say “DCU is going to be terrible” I’d reply “but what you see now isn’t there full team–they’re adding players.” I was wrong–Kasper simply didn’t get it done in preseason. This is not the roster of a good team. But they’re also better than 12 goals and 3 wins in over half a season. So you can conclude that Onalfo isn’t the primary culprit here but also conclude he did a poor job. More specifically, going into the all-star break, the team had appeared to turn things around. But the last 3 games–3 losses including 3-0 to RSL and the level of effort and attention just wasn’t there.

  2. Bob Bradley can’t evaluate or find talent? Hmm…young players below that were brought in while a head coach.

    Chicago Fire: 1998-2002
    Carlos Bocanegra
    Ante Razov
    Zach Thornton
    Josh Wolff
    Kevin Hartman
    Jesse Marsch
    DaMarcus Beasley

    MetroStars: 2003-2005
    Ricardo Clark
    Eddie Gaven
    Mike Magee
    Michael Bradley
    Seth Stammler
    Jeff Parke
    Jason Hernandez

    Chivas USA: 2006 – left for USA MNT job
    Jonathan Bornstein
    Sacha Kljestan
    Maykel Galindo

    I’d say he’s done quite a find job of finding young talent. Most of these players are either in MLS, overseas or have been brought into National Team camps. Even if he has not been the one specifically bringing in the talent, he has surrounded himself with people that have brought it in…another sign of a great manager.

  3. Onalfo was hired because he was not a threat or challenge to Payne and Kasper. They wanted someone they could control and that is what they got. It should be Payne and Kasper leaving. DC United is a shell of the past. Loosing fans fast and Chang hopefully is seeing this.

  4. Man Love by Gulati for Klinsman is an understatement. The question for Klinsman is will he do it for less than $5 million (number I hear he is asking). Does he go to Brazil as a ESPN Talking Head again for less change but more fun or did he miss the sideline sooooo much in South Africa that he will sign on with USMNT. For USA, he doesn’t have to move from SoCal and has the potential for hero status by taking a team with good potential to the semis (maybe).

  5. …plus he was a very average MLS head coach. I’m not sure he even has a winning percentage over .500 in his MLS career…

    But PLEASE take him DCU!!! We need a new Nat Coach.

  6. Elite–the problem isn’t with McBride individually (who I’ve always felt was a shining example on and off the field–I’ve never heard anything but great things about him). It’s that I think Arena more or less took the 2002 Quarters team and tried to keep all of those players for 2006: Lewis, Beasley, Reyna, McBride, and so on. Some of them had good 2006 WC’s, some had bad. But in a young man’s game, we had one of the oldest WC sides out there and were also pretty slow. My point is that it scared me just a little bit when BB, right after the WC when asked about his returned, talked about how he thought this group of players has so much more to accomplish and he’d like another 4 years to work with them. My take is that it would be a repeat of 2006–that we need to be very thankful and appreciative of guys like Onyewu, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, etc. but recognize that have more than a few guys over 30 is probably a team that will be slower than the competition, have more injury problems and ultimately will rest more on past laurels than current form.

  7. Where else can Bradley go? He was one of the worst coaches in South Africa. His is a great organizer, great prep man, but he does not know talent. He is not a recruiter or a bird dog; he does his best with what you give him, but no more. He canot “find” players, and he sticks with players who helped in the past, even when they are injured or out of form. Nobody is knocking on Bob Bradley’s door. Not in Fulham or the EPL or anywhere else, despite the best intentions of his agent to make it appear otherwise. He will improve DC, and DCU will improve him.

  8. Whether Caleb Porter is the best college coach is debatable. Many people would say that you cannot be the best coach unless your team wins the championship. Caleb Porter’s team’s greatest achievement is making it to the finals, where they lost. In contrast, Sasho’s team won the NCAA national championship twice in the last five years and he developed a lot of players for professional soccer. As for DCU throwing money at Porter, they also threw money at Onalfo, but it does not make him the best coach.

  9. What are you ta;ling about? Which EPL job? Bradley is not good enough tactically for any EPL job. The Fulham thing was put out to the media by his agents. Did he ever go to London and seriously meet with Fulham? They got jerked around by everybody, but they never had time for Bradley. Give me a break. DC United is the best he can do.

  10. They need stronger ownership, or at the very least they need to bring in more investors, build a new stadium and start acting like a real franchise.

    Curt = scapegoat.

    just logged on and there is quite a few deleted post. Must be the Baltimorons looking to get a team

  11. Does anyone in their right mind think Bob Bradley would want to get on board this trainwreck? I doubt it.

    Not enough money in the world… If our stadium situation wasn’t such a red tape nightmare it would be one thing, but unless you’ve got some serious balls the job is far from desirable.

  12. So you give credit to the college coach for developing players? That’s simply ridiculous. Sasho is a great coach. But right now and in the immediate past few years, it’s been Caleb Porter. That’s why D.C. United threw big money at him. He is the top collegiate coach in the nation. Bar none.

  13. Why would DC hire Bradley if they knew they weren’t going to spend money on players. Why in the world would Bradley go to DC at this point either?

  14. True but I can;t believe that the Head Coach has no say in player acquisitions. I mean, week after week Onalfo was quoted as saying that he was “happy” with his team of players when everyone else could see that there were serious issues that need to be addressed.

    Its not his fault, no. The FO needs to take the blame for things like the Fred + $$$ + Draft pick for Perkins trade. But changes had to be made and it was always going to start with the coach.

    All I can say is if Klinsmann isn’t wearing a US or United kit by the end of the year, I’m going on a rampage!

  15. (SBI-Kev, while I agree that some of the trolling going on is a bit annoying, you are only making things worse by overreacting to every comment and fanning the flames. The phrase “Don’t feed the trolls” is an apt one. I’m not going to babysit this comment thread all day, but I will start to boot people who can’t keep things civil. I ask that you do your part to not add to the drama.)


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