The Black-and-Red head into this weekend with a chance to improve their seeding, they are currently in third place. A result against the visiting Chicago Fire this Sunday at RFK would definitely help them regain second place. However, United’s head coach is more concerned with the form his team is in entering the playoffs versus the seeding. So while they intend to focus on the last two games of the season and getting a win in both, it seems there has been some reflection on last season’s postseason heading into this year’s second season.
I’m not so concerned about where we’re at, it’s about moving forward and having the right mentality when the playoffs do hit. – Ben Olsen, Head Coach D.C. United
United’s coming off a huge break, 16 days to be exact. If they weren’t a veteran laden team, there would be concern about the long layoff. Olsen said ” So far, I think we’ve managed it okay. “It’s a balance of recovering and making sure we’re healthy, but also turning the screw a little bit. Making sure we’re staying sharp and ready for Chicago this Sunday.” Olsen’s point about being in good form is important, especially when thinking about how last season ended. They lost to a Red Bulls team that was in better form, it’ll also be interesting to see if D.C. will have found “the 11” they wish to do battle with in the postseason. It’s a great opportunity for them to discover who is apart of their best 11.
It’s a much different feel right now than last year. I think part of that is we clinched earlier. We didn’t go through that tough stretch leading up to the last month of the season, I feel like this group is healthy and on the upswing. – Ben Olsen
Olsen thought about the way last season ended quite a bit over the offseason it seems. “That’s what I think the offseason’s for, is to exhale and really have an honest dialouge with yourself and your staff. What we need to do better, that was certainly one of the issues. One of the other things Olsen touched on was that tough stretch United went through this year, where they struggled to get a win in nearly seven matches. That tough time, that adversity may be something the team can draw on going forward. It also helps mentally knowing that you’ve been through tough situations and have weathered the storm so to speak.
How do we get ourselves ready and in the right mindset for playoffs. We’ll work on that. – Ben Olsen
United seems to be in the right frame of mind, focused on Chicago then Columbus. If it’s their form that they’re truly worried about, we’ll get a great indication of where they’re at in the next two matches. Olsen stated that both the remaining games are “crucial” and their focus is on each game at a time.