CSN Rivalry Week: Monday Night Football
Each of the next four nights, Comcast SportsNet will air a past Black-and-Red match as the network presents D.C. United Rivalry Week. To get you primed for the contests, we’ll take a look back at each to see what made them stand out.
Tonight’s match - 7:00 PM: D.C. United vs. Philadelphia Union
(August 22, 2010)
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August of 2010 was a tense time around RFK. D.C. United was in the midst of the worst season in club history, and – having failed to win a league match since June 10 - there was little evidence that the side would emerge from its tailspin anytime soon. Just eight months removed from the end of his playing career, Ben Olsen was serving as interim manager following Curt Onalfo’s dismissal.
Things boiled over on Tuesday ahead of an end-of-summer showdown against the Union. Midfielder Santino Quaranta and assistant coach Mark Simpson engaged in a heated shouting match during practice, leaving Olsen little choice but to address the tension.
“Look, it’s not easy,” D.C.’s coach told the gathered media following training. “This is not an easy stretch for anybody in this organization. We’re human and we feel this as well.”
If the training ground row inspired United, it didn’t show in the game’s early moments. Philadelphia likely should have taken the lead in the seventh minute, but Bill Hamid denied Sebastien Le Toux’s effort. A quarter hour later, the Black-and-Red finally – after nine weeks of failing to secure a lead in league play – went ahead.
Danny Allsopp’s 22nd minute goal was one of two on the afternoon for the Australian as D.C. went on to win 2-0. Afterwards, an exhausted – and relieved – Olsen commented on the pressure-busting victory.
“They were from Philly that team?” Olsen asked playfully when reporters asked about the importance of beating D.C.’s newest rival. “I played soccer in Philly growing up, it was a big part of my youth and my family lives there so I’ve got a couple people I can text and give them a little stuff.”
But that really didn’t enter my mind,” Olsen continued. “We are at a point right now, it doesn’t matter who it is, we just needed a win.”
The match was Ben Olsen's first win as a head coach and, to date, the only time United has defeated Philadelphia in League play.