Hernan Losada hired as new D.C. United coach

D.C. United hired Hernan Losada on Monday to become the team’s new head coach, ending a search that lasted over three months.

Losada joins the MLS club from Belgian First Division side Beerschot. In just over a year as a coach, the 38-year-old Argentinian led Beerschot to promotion from the second division to the first tier, and the club sits in 10th place of 18 teams midway through the campaign.

Beerschot’s 41 goals are the third-most scored in the league so far this season, a testament to Losada’s attacking philosophy.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to join D.C. United and to write a new chapter of success with this storied club,” Losada said in a statement. “I believe in playing every match to win and in my opinion the best way to do this is to create as many scoring chances as possible every time we step onto the field, through high-energy, vertical attacking soccer. I am looking forward to entertaining our fans and competing.”

D.C. United fired coach Ben Olsen in October after 10 years at the helm, with the club languishing toward the bottom of MLS. Olsen played for United for 12 years before joining the coaching staff.

Losada’s hiring creates a fresh start in D.C. The former midfielder played for 15 seasons, beginning in Argentina with Independiente. He then moved to Beerschot in 2006, where he played 178 games between three stints with the club, scoring 60 goals.

Losada also played for Anderlecht and Lierse in Belgium. United said it will apply for Losada’s P-1 Visa and his coaching staff will be announced at a later date. Losada will be the youngest active head coach in MLS.

“Our process to identify the right individual to lead our club has been extremely thorough and we’re confident that Hernán is the ideal person and coach to take us forward,” Dave Kasper, the general manager and vice president of soccer operations for D.C. United, said in a statement. “We believe wholeheartedly in Hernán’s approach to the game and his desire to play high-energy soccer with and without the ball. We look forward to getting to work with Hernán to start the 2021 season.”

When the 2021 season will begin is still unknown, but the expectation is for the league to start playing in March, around the usual timeframe. MLS operated a bubble tournament in Florida last summer, then returned to home markets to conclude the regular season.

Losada becomes the eighth head coach in D.C. United history, and he’s the first hired from overseas without an existing connection to the U.S. or MLS. He inherits a team with many key pieces already in place, such as goalkeeper Bill Hamid and midfielders Paul Arriola and Yamil Asad. Losada was also former teammates with current United defender Frederic Brillant at Beerschot.

But United could look to add pieces in the transfer window, including additional defensive depth and another striker. The MLS draft takes place Thursday, too, an avenue to provide the required depth for Losada’s new team.

“Hernán is a strong leader and strategist and an attack-minded coach,” D.C. United co-chairman and CEO Jason Levien said in a statement. “We are confident that our players and community will take quickly to him and will thoroughly enjoy his high-energy, forward-thinking soccer.”

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