Early Sunday, MLSsoccer.com published an interview segment with Hamid from January looking ahead to Week 1, in which the D.C. United goalkeeper declared himself better than his Atlanta United counterpart.
D.C. ultimately beat Atlanta 2-0 on a slick Sunday evening, with Luciano Acosta’s goal to double the lead partly resulting from Guzan's misjudgement. Afterward, Guzan indicated his distaste for Hamid’s remarks, but Hamid said he thinks Guzan was mostly blowing off steam.
“I think if they would’ve won and he wouldn’t have had a mistake in the game, he probably wouldn’t have said anything,” Hamid told MLSsoccer.com Tuesday after training. “That’s alright. I’m just trying to motivate this team and motivate myself.
“And I never said anything bad about any goalkeeper. In the article, he never mentioned me saying anything bad about him or anyone else. I just said I was better than him. I didn’t say he was terrible.”
For the last decade, Guzan, 34, has been a regular in the US men’s national team setup that Hamid has struggled to penetrate. Guzan also spent a decade of his pro career in England, waiting five years before asserting his place as a regular Premier League starter with Aston Villa and later Middlesbrough.
Meanwhile, Hamid’s entire pro career has come with D.C. since signing from their academy, save for half a season with Danish club FC Midtjylland, who loaned him back to D.C. last summer.
Despite several impressive years, including winning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2014, Hamid only has six US caps. After expressing frustration in being left out of coach Gregg Berhalter’s first January camp, the 28-year-old said his focus is now entirely in Washington.
“The only conversation I had with coach Berhalter is prior to January,” Hamid said. “I’ve got to prepare myself for here. This is important. This is my national team right now. This is my Europe. This is my Real Madrid, my Barca, just like Josef Martinez said.”
On Sunday (3 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US, DAZN in Canada), Hamid could face New York City FC’s Sean Johnson, who was one of the four MLS-based keepers Berhalter chose over Hamid. It would be yet another chance to prove his point, plus earn his 200th league start.
D.C. head coach Ben Olsen said he’s fine with his goalkeeper speaking his mind.
“I don’t want to curb Bill’s personality,” Olsen said. “Bill is Bill. I’ve known him a long time. He’s got a great personality and we’ll always be behind him. But again, I don’t think he said anything that controversial that’s that big a deal. I think he believes in himself as a lot of these players do, and we always have Bill’s back.”