DC United co-owner Jason Levian explains Hernan Losada’s dismissal

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Since a week Hernan Losada was sent off Six games into an MLS season, co-owner of DC United Jason Levian He still raves about his former coach’s energy, passion, and creativity. Losada, he said, “changed the foundation and destabilized our culture, which needed to be reorganized.”

But in his first public comment since the surprise move — a comment that has angered longtime fans who have embraced Losada’s transformative ideas since his arrival last year — Levine said this week that Losada also “broke some eggs.”

On top of Losada’s strained relationship with some players and the front office, United have faltered on the field since last fall: 2-4-1 finished in 2021 and 2-4 started this year.

So when Dave Casper, the team’s head of football operations, and general manager Lucy Rushton recommended a coaching change, Levine said he and partner Stephen Kaplan agreed.

“We felt we had to do better,” Levian said. “A lot of the organization’s role with the players is in inspiring them to give their best. We felt we didn’t get that. Unfairly or not, sometimes it falls to the manager.”

Losada was fired last Wednesday, after returning from a trip to Rochester, New York, for US Open Cup match. Chad Ashton, a DC assistant since 2007, has been put in charge for the remainder of the season, a 28-game run that started with 3-2 Victory over the New England Revolution Saturday at the Audi stadium.

DC United rides Fontas taxi to win in first game since changing training

Losada, who said he is “still in shock” Right after last week’s decision, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. “When I look back, I am proud of the progress… made in less than 15 months, creating a professional and competitive environment,” Posted on Instagram on Tuesday.

In an interview on Tuesday, Levian defends Losada’s qualities.

“He is very talented. He has great charisma,” said Levian. “I found him very inspiring and loved the conversations and interactions we had. Our organization was better by the time Hernan was here.”

But, Levian said, Losada’s demanding methods didn’t work for everyone.

As much as we liked, said Levian, “we were pushing the guys too hard, maybe pushing them a little too hard.”

The physical demands led to a long list of injuries last season and a team that seemed to end the stretch; He missed the playoffs by one point. Even after changes to the support staff and an increased focus on off-season conditioning, illnesses persisted this spring.

Hernan Losada sees DC United as brave and fit. Can reality match his vision?

From a mental point of view, players said Losada’s methods Joy exhausted out of the game and didn’t communicate well. Furthermore, Levian said, “I don’t think you have much happiness when you lose more than you gain.”

“We were worried about our direction,” Casper said last week.

The decision to sack Losada was made very early in the campaign because Levian said: “We didn’t want to do that in Game 20 when it was difficult to make a change in terms of having a great season. We needed to do it earlier.”

But after just six games – one of the quickest shootouts at the start of an MLS season – did Losada get their fair shake? The highest paid Greek striker Taxi Fountas at United, had yet to make his debut. (With Ashton leading, Fontas scored two goals and one assist in the first half alone on Saturday.)

“I’m struggling with that because the conditions could have been different and he could have had more chances,” said Levian. “But what I’m looking for is the club’s collective and inclusive trajectory. When performances are not up to what we expect and we believe there are areas where we can improve our culture, I need to support,” the recommendation made by Kasper and Rushton.

Levine said United’s confidence in Ashton had helped ease concerns about Losada’s sacking. Ashton He was the interim coach in late 2020 after the ouster of Ben OlsenAnd despite interviewing Ashton for the permanent job that winter, Levian said, “we thought we needed a new voice and more change that Chad could offer” at the time.

Taking into account the changes United put in place in 2021, Levine added, “I’m not sure if Chad took the position of Benn, we would have been able to implement that quickly.”

Levine said United want to continue Losada’s high-energy and pressure regime with Ashton.

Levine said Ashton is also suitable for repairing damage in the coach-player relationship and improving in-game strategy, such as closing matches. In Losada’s last two games, United conceded Atlanta’s second-half stoppage-time winner and allowed Austin to score three times after the 80th minute for a. 3-2 win over 10 DC players

“I won’t put [the firing] In one game, but if you look at 20 games about how we win and lose matches, that’s more fair,” Levian said. “You say, ‘Wait a minute, we don’t like where this is going.’ And even though we’ve been in six games, we can That this group of players be at the upper level of the conference, not the lower level.”

Losada did not bow to his superiors By grumbling often On United’s mediocre spending habits compared to teams across the league. Team officials asked him to tone it down, and he did. However, his comments raised questions in the public about the monarchy’s ambitions.

“We’re not at the Atlanta level of spending,” Levian said. “We will be in the middle of the group, but we have to stay on course in terms of our vision, which is strategic spending” and the development of local players.

The MLS Players Association He has yet to announce this year’s salaries, but United are generally at a lower level. The difference is also measured by the amount you spend getting players from abroad.

Levian said United are in the market for a designated third player – the maximum allowed by MLS – to join Fontas and Peruvian striker Edison Flores.

The signing of Flores was bankruptcy: $5 million in transfer fees was paid to Mexican club Puebla in 2020 and a base salary of $1.6 million for a meager production from the often injured player.

Levine, the face of the property group since 2012, has contested allegations that the organization was not spending enough to keep up with the growing league.

Citing the opening of Audi Field in 2018, Levine said, the launch of the second division: Loudoun United, a new training center in Leesburg and an increase in staff in the technical and academic divisions.

He said he understands the frustration of fans, who have not had a playoff win in seven years, 10 conference finals appearances and 18 MLS Cup place – United’s last four titles over MLS’ first nine seasons. .

And the expulsion of the beloved coach further inflamed the fans.

The lack of success on the court “doesn’t suit me,” Levian said.

“I want to spoil our audience again,” he said. Our vision in doing so is to build a culture, philosophy and investment in our team that has achieved sustainable success. There is a lot of it under the surface, but we believe it will build the foundation for us to have a renaissance in the future.”