Since D.C. United coach Ben Olsen returned from his trip to Germany to visit with Borussia Moenchengladbach coach Lucien Favre, he’s been logging lengthy hours at RFK Stadium.
Not that he wasn’t before, of course, but now as United attempt to overhaul their roster from a club that finished with an MLS record-low three wins last season, he and his staff have been quite busy.
“We’ve been having a lot of long days here,” Olsen said. “We’re putting some long days in, figuring out what’s going to be out there. Whether it’s in the draft, possible trades, the international market, we’ve got a lot to think about right now. We’ve got to see who we’ll keep in our group, who we’re going to move on with. So there’s a lot going on.”
The planning will be briefly interrupted by D.C.’s winter tour to Indonesia to play friendly matches on Dec. 6 and Dec. 8. But Olsen expressed that it’s still a bit early for the organization to be pulling the trigger on moves.
“This year, unfortunately, we had a lot of time to tinker and think about who we have and the way we want to go about things next year,” Olsen said. “I have a very clear idea of how this team needs to play and have success. We just need to now get the players in here that can make that happen.”
Olsen said that it’s easier to plan when United are in the position they are in many of the mechanisms the league offers to teams that finish low in the standings, such as having the first pick in the SuperDraft. As for any one specific area in which he was eager to address issues, Olsen was noncommittal.
“You’re in last place and you also have moved on from a lot of players. We’ve got a bunch of needs,” he said. “I’m not going to get into them too much right now, but I think they’ll be evident once we start picking some of these players what our needs are.
“We’ve got a blank canvas and we’ve got to fill it now with the right type of pieces.”
On the verge of D.C.’s trip to Indonesia, Olsen said his club likely will bring in reinforcements to help fill the roster to replace players recovering from injury or those who had prior commitments.
“I’m excited. For the guys, that’s individual thing,” Olsen said. “But it’s a chance to get to see an area of the world that very few get to see. I hope to look at it as a great bonding experience with the team.”