Last week the Philadelphia Union and manager Peter Nowak parted ways after a disappointing beginning to their season. This gave MLS the task of picking Nowak’s replacement, which took a little over a week.
On Thursday, it was announced that replacing Nowak is D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen, who is in his second season coaching United.
In an article on the official MLS website, Olsen stated he was honored with the challenge of facing Chelsea, but joked about the reasoning behind the league’s decision.
“They chose the closest guy to save some money on train tickets,” joked the 35-year-old Olsen, the youngest coach in MLS.
“It’s recognition for my staff,” Olsen said, noting that Chad Ashton, Sonny Silooy and Pat Onstad will be on the sidelines with him in Philadelphia. “[They] have done a great job, always helping out a young coach and [always] keeping this place afloat.”
Olsen has experienced an amazing three year span, going from player, assistant, to head coach in that brief time. He spent his entire 11 year playing career with D.C. and has enjoyed a relatively smooth transition into coaching.
His club currently sits atop the Eastern Conference standings with 30 points, going from worst-to-first in the East during his time as manager.
Chelsea has once before taken part in the mid-summer classic, when they fell to the All-Stars 1-0 in 2006. Olsen will surely hope to recreate the magic that Nowak generated when he patrolled the sidelines of the 2006 match.