After a season-opening defeat where D.C. Unitedstruggled to maintain possession and failed to create quality scoring chances,adjustments were to be expected in Ben Olsen's second starting eleven of2012. In search of a formula thatwould allow D.C. to be more threatening against Los Angeles than they were aweek ago, Olsen made five changes to the Black-and-Red starting lineup.
Most notable among those absent from United's opening eleven was forwardHamdi Salihi. Replaced by MaiconSantos atop D.C.'s formation, the Albanian striker would have made a lateappearance if not for an injury along the back line.
"Salihi was very much in my plans to comeinto the game, but [with] the injury to Dejan Jakovic at half, I had to burn asub," Olsen explained after the match. "I thought Branko [Boskovic] could settle the game alittle bit and Nick [DeLeon] could get in behind a little bit."
After replacing Jakovic with Emiliano Dudar,Olsen was limited to a pair of substitutions as United looked to overturn ahalftime deficit. Though the ensuingresult, a 3-1 loss to the defending champion Galaxy, wasn't what thesecond-year coach had sought, he was even more disappointed by D.C.'s effort. After the match, Olsen vowed thatcommitment would not be a problem again.
"I'm disappointed in the group," saidUnited's head coach. "Theyare a reflection of me and this organization. At the minimum, the fight has to be there every game and Ithought we gave them too much respect early."
"It's not going to happen again," Olsen added. "Because I'm not going to put guysout there that that is going to be a trend with. It's pretty simple."
United's veteran leaders didn't disagree with their coach, pointing out a need for greater individual accountability from D.C.'s players.
"[The coaching staff] wanted us to get out there and put them on their heels, and I don't think we came out mentally prepared to do that," Robbie Russell said afterwards. "We didn't execute the game plan that they drew up."
"You can't make someone work hard," added a disappointed Dwayne De Rosario. "You can try and get under their skin and try to get them going, but at the end of the day they have to find it within themselves to work hard."
D.C. returns to play next Saturday night against a Vancouver sidethat is now 2-0 following its first-ever road win this weekend against ChivasUSA. The match will be televisedat 10:00 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet.