- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
Goodwill — until United-Red Bulls series starts
When D.C. United on Wednesday agreed to sacrifice home-field advantage by swapping home playoff dates with the New York Red Bulls, many factors came into play.
There chiefly were concerns over the New York metropolitan area’s ability to recover promptly from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. Competitive factors also merited consideration.
And, of course, one can’t ignore karma.
“I’ve got a lot of catching up to do in the karma department,” United coach Ben Olsen joked. “I don’t know if this one’s going to put me over the top.”
Second-seeded United originally earned the right to be at home for the second leg of their two-game, total-goals Eastern Conference semifinal. Now, third-place New York will host the decisive match Wednesday, giving the Harrison, N.J.-based club four extra days to prepare.
“It’s bigger than soccer,” center back Brandon McDonald said. “We can’t look at ourselves and be selfish from our standpoint. People’s lives are at stake over there, people have lost houses and family members. So for us, it’s something we gladly accept.”
But any feel-good sentiment attached to United’s agreement to play Game 1 at RFK Stadium on Saturday isn’t expected to last past kickoff.
“The goodwill will probably go out the window once the whistle blows, but that’s great,” Olsen said. “That’s what we want. We want an energetic, passionate game and series.”
Short on experience
With four-time MLS Cup champion Dwayne De Rosario sidelined by a sprained knee ligament, United boast just one player in Olsen’s typical starting lineup who has seen playoff action: McDonald, who started three games for the San Jose Earthquakes in the 2010 postseason.
In the physical center back’s opinion, D.C. needs to look no further than the Houston Dynamo, who ousted Chicago 2-1 in Wednesday night’s knockout game, to understand a winning playoff mentality.
“You look at that team, when it comes playoff time, it’s animals on the field,” McDonald said. “I’m trying to instill that in the guys here. I’m like, ‘Look man, playoffs isn’t pretty soccer. It’s who is going to bite their teeth the hardest and have the most grit on the pitch.’”
While United’s four MLS Cups still top the league, Olsen, who won titles as a player in 1999 and 2004, is the only remaining link to that era.
“That’s why Ben’s here,” goalkeeper Bill Hamid said. “He can bring that experience into the locker room and give us that faith that we need, that courage and desire to work hard.”
Team vs. individuals
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- Luis Silva realizes potential in D.C. United playmaking role
- United, D.C. hope this new stadium plan will be the last
- Jared Jeffrey returns to U.S. in search of playing time after European tour
- Sonny Silooy's career has evolved from standout defender to standout talent developer
- Alain Rochat adjusts to D.C. United move with growing family on his mind
Latest Blog Entries
- Jason Levien, Ben Olsen discuss D.C. United's $300M stadium plan
- Conor Doyle loan continues D.C. United youth movement
- Ben Olsen discusses trading Brandon McDonald to Real Salt Lake
- Interview outtakes: Sonny Silooy
- Hello Luis Silva, Collin Martin, goodbye Alain Rochat: Breaking down D.C. United's busy day
By Tammy Bruce
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Unemployment insurance vote could happen next week
- DELAY: A revolution for the Constitution
- PRUDEN: Likening Putin to Hitler on Ukraine shows Hillary's shaky grasp of history
- BRUCE: Obama's bizarre immigration rules
- IRS to turn over Lerner emails in tea party targeting probe
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- R-S-P-E-C-T: Find out what it means for Obama
- Golden Hammer: Feds spend millions to train executives train in luxury
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again