- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 4, 2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — Last-place D.C. United fired coach Curt Onalfo on Wednesday and replaced him on an interim basis with assistant coach and former U.S. national team player Ben Olsen.

Mr. Onalfo failed to last a full season as the four-time MLS Cup champions have floundered through their worst stretch in franchise history. United failed to make the playoffs the last two seasons, and this year’s 3-12-3 record is the worst in MLS. They’ve been hit hard by injuries and bad signings, and their lone bright spot is 17-year-old rookie midfielder Andy Najar.

“This decision is not about placing blame, but about looking forward,” team president Kevin Payne said. “Recent performances have convinced us that we need to make a change at the top for the team to improve the remainder of this season, for 2011 and beyond.”

Long a fan favorite, Mr. Olsen helped United win two MLS Cups and joined the coaching staff after retiring at the end of last season. He will make his head coaching debut Saturday against the New England Revolution.

“We’ve asked Ben to focus on three objectives for the balance of this season,” Mr. Payne said. “Prepare to win the next game, demand of our players the same commitment to the shirt that he displayed, and determine which players demonstrate that they want to play for United next season.”

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