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We're just three weeks into the season, and D.C. United have more excuses than goals.
During the preseason, the same hackneyed rhetoric that plagues every camp was unleashed onto the media by head coach Ben Olsen, via Pablo Maurer on MLS's official website:
There is a lot to build on. Each time we get out there, we've grown and gotten better. It's just important for us as a staff to see that – and it's especially important for the players to see that we're moving in the right direction.
Then, competitive matches were actually played.
United sputtered in the season opener and fell 3-0 to the Columbus Crew. Fortunately, midfielder Nick DeLeon had the only possible explanation for the continuation of the club's impotence. Pablo Maurer carried the quotes on MLS's official website:
There was definitely a communication issue. It was just a miscommunication between Christian and I. They had a good one two and they capitalized it. It'll come along, though. It's just all of us getting on the same page.
Lest we forget the Crew also debuted a revamped back line of their own in Week 1. Surprisingly enough, communication didn't seem to be an issue for them en route to a clean sheet.
Then, another competitive match was played.
D.C. would falter again—this time as the visitors in Week 3. Though nobody blamed the sloppy conditions at BMO Field for the 1-0 loss to Toronto FC, it was a talking point for striker Eddie Johnson at Tuesday's training session, according to Pablo Maurer on MLS's official website:
The field was crap. Absolute crap...It was a big crowd, a loud crowd, a crowd that wanted to see some quality football. Being part of this league, and playing in some of the soccer-specific stadiums we play on, I can say that pitch was in very, very, very, very bad condition.
At least we know BMO Field and D.C. United have that in common.
Fast forward to today. A tweet from the club's official Twitter account shed light on the current mentality surrounding the club. "Some of [the players] are getting pissed off," coach Ben Olsen said. "And I'm pissed off," he added.
"That's a healthy thing."
It only took one month, but the same bombastic and vociferous Coach Olsen seen in the media during his abysmal 2013 season has returned. United have gone from a club "moving in the right direction" to...well, "pissed off." An optimistic offseason is transforming into yet another season of nightmares.
D.C. United are back where they spent all of 2013: Dead last.
A victory over the Chicago Fire is of the utmost importance if the club hopes to escape the unchanged narratives of the worst season in MLS history.