Three takeaways from the Houston Dynamo hiring of Ben Olsen

New England Revolution v D.C. United
New England Revolution v D.C. United / Jose L. Argueta/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The Houston Dynamo announced the hiring of former DC United manager Ben Olsen as the sixth head coach in franchise history. Olsen's hiring brought immediate questions to bear and produced three takeaways.


Olsen's hiring reunites, general manager Pat Onstad and goalkeeper coach Zach Thornton in a triumvirate of a DC United alliance. Olesen coached Onstad during his playing days at DCU and hired him as the goalkeeping coach following his retirement. Thornton is currently on staff with Houston as the goalkeeping coach a position he previously held with Olsen at DC United. If this hiring is more about familiarity since it is assumed that the Dynamo wanted Hugo Sanchez but he would not commit and they did not want to wait on El Tri's coach till after the World Cup making this an easy choice but not necessarily the best one.

Why Olsen and not Kenny Bundy?

Both Onstad and Olsen emphasized that they want a "fiery" team on the pitch yet the coach they hired does not generally play that style. If a fiery team is what you want and you had an interim coach that induced that style from his players why did you you pass on him? In his press conference on September 7th, Onstad gave two specifics about what traits or characteristics, he would be looking for in the next coach. He wanted someone who had experience at the top level and someone who would have the team on the front foot and dominating especially in the Houston heat. Bundy proved he can coach at the MLS level not to mention winning in every stop of his coaching career including the USL and MLS NextPro. Olsen has been a successful head coach in the win column but he doesn't not have an aggressive, offensive coaching style. He has been described as pragmatic and defensive.

The rebuild project

At Tuesday's news conference, the Onstad called the Dynamo a rebuild project and that Olsen was interested in that endeavor. It was understood during last season that the Houston Dynamo were just a player or two away from having a solid core. Now with the opening of ten roster spots and the move of Fafa Picault for cash, the truth comes to the light of day. Another turnover in roster to get the kind of guys that play the way Olsen coaches which simply means unless they get lightning in a bottle for a season like Wilmer Cabrera there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Fans are going to endure another season of mediocrity of that. Olsen did coach some DC United teams to their worst finishes.