WASHINGTON - For a competitor like D.C. United starting goalkeeper Bill Hamid, three games can feel like an eternity.
Needless to say, United’s 4-1 victory over FC Dallas on Saturday evening -- Hamid’s first action since picking up a toe injury on National team duty in early April -- was a perfect welcome back to the pitch.
"It feels great,” a smiling Hamid told MLSsoccer.com after the victory. "It’s good to be back on the field. It feels great, honestly to win, to be a part of a special performance.”
Hamid picked up the injury during warm-ups for the US national team’s clash against Mexico on April 2nd. What was at first a relatively minor injury -- Hamid on Saturday suggested that the knock should only have sidelined him for a week -- became worse when the keeper pushed himself in the week that followed, attempting to gear up for United’s Atlantic Cup clash with New York.
"I tried to push it,” said Hamid. "It wasn’t the smartest idea. Being a part of DC United for so many years I knew the rivalry against New York was a big thing and during that week I tried to push it to try and get ready for that game. I tried to push it against doctor’s orders.
"I was hungry to play in that game, it was New York. That ended up setting me back another week. I’m going to be a little smarter next time when it comes to injuries.”
In Hamid’s absence, United found an unlikely savior in goal in Andrew Dykstra, a backup who hadn’t started an MLS match since 2010. Dykstra performed admirably given the circumstances, allowing only one goal in three matches.
During that run of form, United head coach Ben Olsen may have found himself with a bit of a quandary - should he stick with the hot hand, or hand the starting spot back to his regular keeper? After his club’s match against Columbus, Olsen was quick to clarify that that was never really an issue to begin with.
“Bill was good [tonight.] It’s never easy, coming back in after your backup has a good run. He wanted to prove that he was the number one and I think he did that tonight. [Who was starting] was a conversation I had to have with Andrew. At the end of the day, Bill is our number one. He didn’t leave the field through a run of poor form. We have all the faith in the world in Bill - I have a lot of faith in all three of our keepers.”
"Andrew did a great job,” added Hamid. "It shows the depth that this team has in the goalkeeper position. Last year when I was out, Joey [Willis] stepped in and did a hell of a job as well, and he’s doing a hell of a job at Richmond this year.
"We’ve always had depth and great competition at goalkeeper and honestly I welcome it. It makes all of us better we compete against each other in training."