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Report: Dynamo in talks with Ben Olsen over head coaching vacancy


The Houston Dynamo’s search for a new head coach has continued through the club’s offseason, but one former MLS veteran has emerged as a reported candidate.

Ben Olsen is reportedly in talks with the Dynamo over the club’s head coaching vacancy, The Athletic reported Monday. Olsen has been without a coaching job since being fired by D.C. United in October 2020.

Olsen spent 11 seasons as a player for D.C. United, helping the club win eight trophies including two MLS Cups (1999 and 2004). After retiring as a player, Olsen took over as head coach of the Black and Red in 2010, winning the U.S. Open Cup in 2013.

He has since served a guest analyst on ESPN during the station’s MLS and U.S. men’s national team coverage. Olsen would bring several years of MLS head coaching experience to Houston, should both parties agree to a deal.

The Dynamo struggled under former head coach Paulo Nagamura in 2022, finishing 13th in the 14-team Western Conference this season. Despite the arrivals of Hector Herrera, Carlos Ferreira, among others, the Dynamo finished with the third-fewest goals scored (43) in the Western Conference and the fourth-most goals conceded (56).

Fafa Picault, Daniel Steres, and Memo Rodriguez are among 11 players whose contracts are set to expire at the end of the year.


  1. Ben also spent ~10 months as the President of the Washington Spirit before stepping down this spring.

    As a DCUnited fan, I love and respect Ben, but he’s not a great coach. He had some modest success over the years, with an under-invested team. However, it’s not like he made the sum that much better than the parts or out-coached the opposition. Winning just 2 playoff games in 11 years is a pretty telling stat.

    • dynamo doing dynamo things, there is a reason we are what we are.

      of course the snobs would love hugo but the reality is he made ES “prettier” instead of “more competitive.” won 2 final round qualifiers (panama and honduras), total, finished 7/8 ahead of only honduras. i could care less on aesthetics and so i see zero proof of concept.

      of the rumors i have heard, i prefer tata, porter, and marsch, in that order. tata and marsch are technically not yet available and story goes porter isn’t being considered. but compared to the other candidates i have heard of (osorio, olsen, hugo), those 3 are more serious and like what i believe it will take to get back other side of the red line. if they keep doing half measures nothing changes. tata wins about everywhere he goes. porter is successful about 2/3 of the time with second tier type payrolls. marsch had some degree of success with 2 of his 5 teams but they tended to be highly resourced relative to their league.

      but ben lost far more than he won with DC and hugo hasn’t had to actually win yet. that and on hugo i don’t think “pretty for the sake of pretty” is what they dynamo need — they need a good coach and some fundamental soundness on tactics.

      • personally i expect for it to be someone like ben or hugo, someone either out of the industry for a bit or new to first division pro soccer like tab and nagamura before them. the GM, when interviewed at the end of the season, kept acting like they already knew the intended playing style and were seeking what was termed a “collaborator.” i took that to mean a coach who would let the GM back seat drive and push analytics. the GMs here have done a lousy job for years (save 2017). the team feels clueless on their naive tactics. if the idea is to have a figurehead game manager who implemented organizationally determined tactics, and followed analytics department theories on personnel, that would be a weaker or greener candidate willing to take the job — “any job, really” — on those terms. a stronger candidate would want more tactical and personnel control, and would not wager their career on our poor GMs being secret geniuses. personally i think our front office is clueless and the last people who should think they should be the secret power behind the throne. arrogant as heck and between that and a lack of resources, big part of why we fail.

      • I don’t see them paying Tata money, but I did think about before you brought it up.
        Porter only made the playoffs once in 4 yrs with my Crew. His whole strategy was to park the bus and bomb it long to the opposing keeper the final 30 minutes if Crew had a lead.
        El Salvador hadn’t been in the final qualification round since 2010 (and wouldn’t have even in 8 team versions in 2014, 2018) so I wouldn’t say Hugo didn’t improve the team. I think Hugo would be good to help if Houston wants to actual start building a youth system. Is he a better match manager than Osario, probably not but will your program be better when he’s gone probably.
        Any traction from Houstonfans for former Dynamo player Danny Cruz? He just lead Louisville City to the Eastern Conference title in USL finished 2nd last year. Not a lot of experience 2 seasons in USL but a 1st and a 2nd place finish isn’t too shabby.

      • i noticed what cruz did — i want a proven winner and he did win — but after nagamura laid an egg up from the USL i doubt they’d do two in a row. but paolo wasn’t just USL, he was like near-bottom USL.

        re “improve the team” by being development oriented, that’s been the argument 3 coaches in a row and they all end up playing 30 year old scrubs over the draft picks and HGP. the last 3 coaches were like the US U19 coach (cabrera), US U20 coach (ramos), and SKC’s reserve team coach (paolo). i want someone with first division experience and a winning history. heck, i’d prefer if they’d won in more than one place and showed it’s not just a roster fluke, that they can do it over and over. we keep hiring cheap system zealots. hire a winner and let them decide what the selection and tactics should look like. the winners will have proof of concept and maybe even more than one tactic in the clipboard ready.

      • we had a bunch of raines/ castilla/ palomino/ maicel/ hoffmann/ n’doye/ etc. type players at HD2 plus gitau in the academy, and story is we’re gonna lose gitau, we cut hoffmann, and we rarely played the kids we kept. so we were final 4 in nextpro reserve league but even with an interim coach and the season over they weren’t playing at the end of the season. what is the point to a developmental coach who won’t play the kids even a minute in garbage time.

        hoffmann looked good to me and he got cut when we needed a wingback. raines they brought him in then signed mids to play ahead of him. gitau dribbled half colorado in the preseason and couldn’t get signed. we have had servania and cappis in the academy then lost them. richards was in town and played normal select.
        even if we trained up a “busio” he would get buried and never play.

      • Is a proven winner going to take their phone call though? They don’t seem to want to spend big on manager or players (even Herrera felt like MLS 2010). Add in the basically inept youth setup and what would draw someone. Stadium isn’t great, weather dictates training in the summer. I just don’t see positives. Miguel Herrera pops to mind if he’d take a challenge. Someone with a pedigree but with baggage so they’d be willing to take it. He’s probably pretty happy at Tigers though. Maybe someone else from LigaMx looking for a challenge and more stable living. I heard they reached out to Nancy at Montreal as have The Crew. Ben seems like where they’ll land though.

      • personally i’ve been watching fulham and atleti because i don’t think the dynamo are trying. you’re getting “they need to do” vs “what i think they will do” because they are never gonna lobotomize me where i become so naive a fanboy i get the 2 confused. i know what i think is good enough. i know what tactics and formations i think are sound. i know what level coach i think they need for this to matter. ben’s not enough, ben couldn’t make DC win in their bad years. but the “would anyone come here” can’t be the way fans who want a winner back, can think. we have to demand what we want.

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