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Three Questions With Black and Red United

It's the final game of the season and the Dynamo face D.C. United, which doesn't have the same ring to it it did when it was scheduled during the off-season. From a playoff run last season to the worst record in MLS, the DCU fan base has felt it all over the last two seasons, so I asked Adam Taylor from Black and Red United a few questions about it.


1. With this season a wash what hopes if any do you guys have for this game?

Mostly not to embarrass ourselves, honestly, not that it's likely. Even if United don't lose horribly, anything but a win will give the Black-and-Red sole possession of the record for fewest wins in MLS history. And a win will merely give us a share of that record, so... woot? Given the utter failures of the season, I'll be pretty content with a spirited, competent showing that doesn't leave anybody injured and in jeopardy of missing the start of preseason.

2. The team had a lot of front office changes - do you think that played a significant role in the team's decline this season? Has this season exposed Ben Olsen's lack of coaching experience?

Well, most of the front office changes weren't actually to the technical staff. The team slimmed down the marketing and sales teams and refocused on a leaner enterprise. But the same frugality that pushed that cost cutting could also be seen on the playing side. Instead of bringing in experienced players to take United to the next level after the team finished with the third-best record in the league and were an uncalled Andre Hainault red card away from the MLS Cup Final, the team went for younger, cheaper, unestablished talent. The results pretty well speak for themselves.

I think Ben Olsen would be the first person to tell you that this year has exposed his lack of experience. But given the poor construction of the roster, I'm not totally convinced that firing him midseason would have improved the on-field results in league play (and given the charmed nature of United's run to the USOC title, it probably would have ended up meaning no trophy, which is ironic and hilarious). Next spring, we'll get to see what he's learned from this trying year - hopefully it was a lot, and going through such a painful season won't be for nothing.

3. What does the team need to do in the offseason to get back on track?

What don't they need to do in the offseason to get back on track? There are so many priorities that the team needs to realize that we over at B&RU launched an interactive priority ranking to see where United fans think the technical staff and front office should be focusing on. On the field, the top answers are for a game-breaking forward and an organizing presence in central defense, both of which were completely lacking this year (and to some extent last year as well). But fans also recognize that United's international scouting has been woeful for years now, so improving that looks like a prerequisite to any international signings, or else we may once again be taken down the road of Rafael Teixeira de Souza and Marcos Sanchez and too many other names to list here.

You can check out my answers to Adam over on Black and Red United.