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Dynamo clinch playoff berth as D.C.’s dreadful season draws to a close



WASHINGTON – The Houston Dynamo booked their spot in the MLS playoffs this afternoon, clinching a spot in the east with a 2-1 victory at RFK stadium. The victory could put Houston through as the #3 seed, and (for now) out of MLS’ dreaded play-in game, which would allow them some much needed rest before entering in the conference semi-finals. They’ll await the results of this afternoon’s other Eastern Conference matches to determine their ultimate fate.

“I think at the end here, everyone has gotten relatively healthy and we’ve had a bigger squad to pick from,” remarked Houston head coach Dom Kinnear outside the Dynamo locker room. “Our team, like others, have had problems with qualifiers, injuries, so I think when he had that bad patch in the second third of the season, we were missing a lot of guys and were just a little bit inconsistent with our lineup. Now the last little bit we’ve been a little more consistent with our lineup and the results kind of show that we have a good team.”

On the other side of things, D.C. United’s nightmarish season came to a merciful end, the team laying claim to several more all-time MLS worsts. All-told, United set or tied records in 2013 for fewest wins, lowest goals per game average, worst goal differential, fewest road wins and most road losses. For fans and players alike, the campaign’s end is more a relief than anything else, a feeling that United head coach Ben Olsen reflected on at his post-game press conference.

“Absolutely [I’m relieved]. As for next year, goals would help. Guys that can provide the last pass would help. [We have to] get more athletic, get better service on set pieces, shore up our back line even more. You name it, we could get better at it.”

A back and forth first half saw both teams create chances, the Dynamo making the better of theirs.

Houston were handed an early lead when James Riley brought down Giles Barnes in the box in the game’s opening minutes. Boniek Garcia stepped to the spot and struck a blistering PK to Bill Hamid’s right; Hamid guessed correctly but could do nothing as the ball sailed past his outstretched fingertips.

United had their share of chances as well, and equalized in the 28th minute. Chris Pontius used pace and a bit of guile to assist on the second goal, making a crafty run down the left flank before crossing to a poorly marked Kyle Porter. The Canadian international nodded it home, tying the match and giving him a share of the team lead in goals – with three.

The draw would be short-lived. Brad Davis swung a corner kick in towards the area, and Giles Barnes managed to shake both James Riley and Luis Silva, powering the header home and putting the Dynamo up for good.

“We were a little outmatched physically.” Olsen lamented after the match. “We put some guys in some spots they weren’t used to. But overall, it’s still the same old us. Good stuff, good quality, good build-up, just not enough killers in front of goals or not enough guys with the final play, the final savvy to pull of a few goals.”

D.C. and Houston ground through a far more uneventful second half, both teams trading half-chances, Houston seemingly content to fall back and defend a one-goal lead against the most offensively anemic team in the league.

In the end, it would be the Dynamo who marched on to the MLS playoffs, and D.C. who marched into the wrong end of the record books. Of all of the players who were asked to reflect on United’s lackluster campaign, Hamid was the one, perhaps, who summed it up most appropriately:

“It sucks.”

Here are the game highlights:


  1. I said it earlier this year and DC United Fans trashed me but I’ll say it again:

    DC United was team to be reckoned with until Ben Olsen took the reigns. Since he got “hands on” with the team it has dwindled down into nothing. They’ve made poor decisions which caused unnecessary injuries to players, let players go, didn’t address certain players to keep them satisfied, and utilized his staff incorrectly (if utilized at all). A huge majority of the front office “gaffs” were made starting with Ben Olsen. He has got to go. And understand this, I’m a Houston Dynamo fan. I feel for DC United. They were a great club under Bruce Arena. They have 4 stars across their crest and now Ben Olsen has earned them another star but this time it isn’t a star at all, it’s an “F” for failure (not including their Open Cup Trophy)

    • Meh. I’m a United fan and I feel OK. I’m not sure what you are talking about but they formerly announced plans for a new stadium a couple months ago. So that’s cool. Plus we won the US Open Cup, say what you will about that, but it still counts! Onward to next season…

    • Also, do you have proof of this? “A huge majority of the front office “gaffs” were made starting with Ben Olsen.”

      • I was commenting towards the fact that he wasn’t even supposed to be manager so soon. He had just retired and was an assistant coach for a year and then all of a sudden he was promoted to head coach. Here’s a cut & paste from an online article regarding the issue:

        Olsen signed a three-year guaranteed contract that made him United’s seventh head coach in club history and youngest full-time head coach in the league’s 15 year history. This occurred despite the fact that United President and CEO Kevin Payne had continuously ruled him out during the months leading up to the decision.[24]

        “I don’t think he’s ready. … It’s been a great learning experience for Ben and I am sure he will learn a great deal over the next couple of years.”

        They had Emilio Luciano who scored like 20 goals and they let him go. They let Leonard Pajoy go, Charlie Davies, and a few other decent players. And I love DeRo but they paid over $600,000 for him. Luckily for DC his contract expires at the end of this year. To me, these are “front office gaffs”.

    • You do it by having owners who have given up too. One of ours has already gone and bought into another team (Inter), who now “have lots of money.” Wish this team had “lots of money.”

      Losing like we’ve done all season does suck. But I can’t get over how Olsen has acted this season. First it our losses were down to “luck.” Then he was “proud” after each game because we tried “hard.” Then we “just aren’t good enough,” yet he never blamed himself; he never came out and said that every single scouted player he bought, including our DP who played like three games even though he was “the best player” Olsen ever saw, was terrible. Finally, we ended the season with Olsen saying stupid things like, “I played players to lose.”

      It baffles me how the lion of DC, our feared leader for so many seasons, just completely lost the plot. Terrible subs, terrible formations, terrible tactics. This team is damaged goods, and as a 96er, I don’t blame any player for staying away. We don’t keep players, we don’t improve, we don’t have a stadium, and we give up.

      We won a trophy this season, and at the same time lost the soul of our club. Who made that deal with the devil?

    • There are 4 trophy’s in the MLS Cup campaign.

      Supporters Shield
      Eastern Conference Championship
      Western Conference Championship
      MLS Cup

    • No he needs to go. This team fell so much from last year’s team and with the same core of players. Thats the Coach’s fault. CUSA cut away key players intentionally & still managed to have a better season than D.C. That speaks volume of Ben Olsens inept coaching. Remember his mid season rant? That was the only highlight D.C. had all year. Pathetic


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