Thursday, May 5, 2011

Olsen's Army Answers Call

The start of this week was tough for DC. After losing three straight games in disgraceful fashion, the boys answered the call on Wednesday, beating Seattle 2-1. Seattle came to RFK (a venue where they have never lost) chasing first place in the western conference, to play a team that had given up 11 goals in the last three games. Under pressure to show signs of life, Olsen rallied his team and ramped up pressure to a level that had not been seen all season. The result was a sucker-punch of a match that gave Seattle more fight than they were expecting.

Many of the players exceeded expectations for them for this game. Charlie Davies scored a goal with an assist from Josh Wolff. In the second half, he returned the favor for Wolff's goal. Both of these came off of balls slotted through by Andy Najar whose technical ability was in top form. The defense gave up only a single goal (on a deserved penalty kick). What about goalie Bill Hamid? His play was outstanding, and kept DC in the lead in the closing minutes of the game.

The most important thing about this game may be that when pushed into a corner, Olsen was able to rally his team. As poor as the squad played against the Houston, this week they were in sync. On Monday, Olsen's practice was intense by all accounts. It included a lot of yelling and the team's reaction could well have responded less positively. This was in stark contrast to last year's team, which was demoralized by this time last year and was unable to rally when then-coach Curt Onalfo recited his mantra that the team would have to "Dig a little deeper", after each game.

If United continue to perform well over the course of the season (even if they miss the playoffs), Olsen's effort this week will stand as a defining moment for the coach. "Game 8? Oh yeah, that's the game Benny showed what he could do."

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