Bill Hamid - DC United - embraces Luciano Acosta after Portland win

WASHINGTON – In his only save of his first game back in MLS Wednesday night, Bill Hamid immediately showed why D.C. United moved for a reunion with their longtime goalkeeper.

United had already fallen behind to a goal from Portland Timbers striker Samuel Armenteros when Sebastian Blanco picked out the Swede again with a probing ball from the left.

Hamid charged out, spread his frame, smothered Armenteros’ header and kept D.C.’s deficit at one. The Black-and-Red went on to score four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 victory that was likely their most complete performance since the 2016 season.

“Those are the moments that Bill helps you throughout the season,” coach Ben Olsen explained. “They score there, it’s a different ballgame.”

D.C. still have plenty of room for help heading into Sunday night’s game against the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET | FS1 – Full TV and streaming info).

Despite a four-match unbeaten run that is their longest of the season, United have preserved only one clean sheet in 2018, when they defeated Columbus Crew SC 1-0 in a “home” match played in Annapolis, Maryland in April.

Meanwhile, Hamid has shutouts in 49 of his 185 career MLS matches (26 percent), even at times when the United teams in front of him have otherwise played poorly. He kept six clean sheets during D.C.’s last-place 2017 season, and even managed four shutouts during the Black-and-Red’s historically bad 2013 campaign, in which they earned only 16 points.

“Forwards have to be aware of him,” Olsen said of the 2014 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year. “He comes out, and he’s imposing, and when he comes out with that type of speed, he stays big, he’s brave. It was nice to have him in net. It was as if he never left, really.”

Bill Hamid underlines value with key save vs. Timbers on DC United return -

Hamid with D.C. in 2015 | USA Today Sports Images

Hamid returned to D.C. on a year-and-a-half loan only 10 months after departing for Danish side FC Midtjylland, where he played only three first-team matches. While United’s defensive struggles have rarely been the fault of goalkeepers David Ousted and Steve Clark, Hamid’s return could bring more confidence to their defensive setup.

“I love having Bill behind me,” said holding midfielder Russell Canouse. “Last year coming in, it gave me confidence to do my work on and off the ball. Tonight, it just felt like normal, like last year when I came in. It just gelled very quickly. It’s good to have him back.”

The best news for D.C.? Hamid’s performances should only improve from here.

“He’s still a little rusty.” Olsen said. “He’s only had a few real games in the last [year]. He’s just coming off of preseason. So he’ll get there.”