When D.C. United hired Hernán Losada, he was hailed as a young and innovative manager who would introduce the nation’s capital to modern day, offensive-minded soccer. Just 15 months later and only six games into the MLS season, Losada was fired.
“We felt like we should be doing better,” said D.C. United co-owner Jason Levien. “A lot of an organization’s role with players is to inspire them to play their best. We felt like we weren’t getting that. Unfairly or not, sometimes that falls on the manager.”
Firing Losada a month into the season clearly changes the trajectory of the current season for United, but it’s not unfair to question how competitive the squad was going to be this campaign anyway — after the club spent the offseason sending away its best players.
Earlier this year, D.C. United sold talented midfielder Kevin Paredes to German club Wolfsburg for a fee of more than $7 million and traded winger Paul Arriola to FC Dallas in exchange for $2 million in allocation money. Paredes and Arriola were two of the team’s best players last season and, thanks to their time with the U.S. Men’s National Team, were quite possibly the only two assets on the current roster worth the price of admission.
Without them, and without the highly-touted manager who was supposed to stabilize the franchise, D.C. United looks completely lost. Forward Taxiarchis Fountas, who the club acquired from Rapid Vienna, looks to be the real deal, but he’s basically a one-man show these days as the black and red continue to plummet down the MLS standings. After falling to Nashville SC 3-1 in a game that remained competitive for roughly five minutes, it’s clear that this franchise is in need of a serious infusion of talent and money. Until then, D.C. United will continue to be a small market club in a town that is desperate for better.