WASHINGTON – D.C. United’s 2-1 win over Seattle on Wednesday was much-needed for a team that desperately needed a result. But perhaps no player needed it more than 20-year-old Bill Hamid.
The second-year goalkeeper came up huge in the victory, making four saves on the evening to preserve the win – including two huge stops in the dying minutes, shortly after a Brad Evans penalty kick shaved United’s lead to a goal.
At the final whistle, Hamid was emotional, reflecting on the long road he’s been on since offseason shoulder surgery.
“I’m not going to lie, I was almost in tears at the end game,” he told reporters after the match. “That’s all that was running through my mind at the end of the game was the surgery, finally coming back and doing it big like I did last year. It’s been a long road.”
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After conceding eight goals in two straight league matches, defensive improvements were paramount for DC to succeed. And Hamid certainly played his part Wednesday evening. When not making huge saves, he was bellowing orders out on the field to his defenders in an attempt to keep things organized.
According to head coach Ben Olsen, the performance was the result of a lot of hard work put in practice with assistant coach Pat Onstad.
“Pat worked with him all week about staying big,” Olsen said. “He’s not a small man, when he stays big, he makes great saves. We worked on that all week, it was nice to see him get rewarded for some hard work.”
Added Hamid: “I actually wrote on my gloves, ‘Stay up, stay big.’ I can’t believe how many times I said to myself, ‘Stay up, stay big.’ I kind of focused in on that and I made a good save on two headers.”
Hamid had to be alert in the first half as well when the game was tied at 0-0. In the second minute, Seattle forward Fredy Montero stole the ball off DC defender Ethan White and tried to chip Hamid, but he was in position and calmly collected the long shot.
He had to make another tricky save off a header by Sounders midfielder Álvaro Fernández in the first half as well, tipping it over the bar. Hamid wasn’t really called into action again until the game’s 73rd minute. After conceding a goal on Evans’ penalty, Hamid stopped Fernández’s free header with a terrific reaction save, and then denied Montero’s shot from outside the box a few minutes later.
After that, DC controlled position and kept and Hamid wasn’t needed, and the youngster’s confidence will certainly grow from this effort.
“I finally feel like I can grow off this win,” he said. “Not get too cocky, get too big-headed because I made a couple saves, but stay focused and work hard tomorrow morning and Friday morning.”