After a disappointing end to the 2011 campaign and the fourth straight season without making the post-season, Head Coach Ben Olsen and the technical staff made the difficult decision to part ways with several club veterans. Santino Quaranta (10 seasons in DC), Clyde Simms (7 seasons), Devon McTavish (6 seasons), and Marc Burch (5 seasons) all departed as United rebuilt. United had an up-and-down season – that saw the club go undefeated at home since opening night and three named to the MLS All-Star Game roster (Olsen, Pontius, De Rosario), but finished the year on a high note after 2011 MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario went down with an injury while on Canadian National Team duty.
Instead of finishing the season poorly as many in the soccer world expected, United went undefeated in its next seven games to lock up its first playoff berth in five years along with the num- ber two seed in the 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs. United went on to defeat the New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals before dropping an injury-ridden Eastern Conference final to the Houston Dynamo.